JUSTICE DIES: Ben Overton, far left, was the first state Supreme Court justice to be appointed rather than elected. Gov. Reubin Askew swore him in March, 1974. At right, an official court portrait from the 1990s.
Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Ben F. Overton, the first justice appointed by the governor after the switch in the 1970s from elected justices, has died from complications of heart surgery, a spokesman for the court said.
Overton, who retired in 1999, was 86.
On the court for more than two decades, his legacy includes letting cameras into Florida courtrooms.
Legal scholars at the conservative Federalist Society are heaping skepticism on the Republicans' rationale for drumming liberal Justices Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince and R. Fred Lewis out of the Florida Supreme Court for "judicial activism."