Chapter 1: May it Please the Court

Of Florida, from Florida, for Florida


In his painting series May It Please the Court, artist Xavier Cortada offers visual depictions of ten significant constitutional law decisions from the Supreme Court of the United States that originated in Florida. Cortada’s series is ‘of’ Florida, cases arising from instances unique to the state, in which Florida people, places, and events produce Florida things. Because Florida is a weird place full of weird people doing weird things. But those weird events produce legal disputes resulting in constitutional principles affecting the rest of the nation on matters ranging from criminal procedure to freedom of the press to free exercise of religion to property rights to state sovereign immunity.


Howard M. Wasserman is Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development at Florida International University. He holds a J.D. from Northwestern University and has published on the First Amendment and civil rights, including Understanding Civil Rights Litigation (2018).