Justice Harding calls it a career April 15, 2002 Assistant Editor Regular News Justice Harding calls it a career Amy K. Brown Assistant EditorKnown for his snappy bow ties, ready smile, and strong religious convictions, Justice Major Best Harding and his slow, Southern drawl will not be heard around the Supreme Court come fall.After 11 years on the high court and 34 total years on the bench, Justice Harding is calling it quits.In late March, Harding announced he would retire from his position on the court as of August 31 — even though his term doesn’t end until 2005.“I look back and consider myself truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to serve in this way,” Harding said.“When I think of Major Harding, I think of his wit, his wisdom, his intellect, and his courage,” said Bar President Terry Russell. “And I think that all of those qualities, though shared by many other members of the court, will be severely missed.”Harding’s retirement plans include spending time with his wife of 43 years, Jane, his three children, Major, Jr., 42, David, 40, and Alice, 36, and his eight — soon to be nine — grandchildren.But he doesn’t have much else in mind, he said.“That’s part of the plan — to have nothing planned for a while,” Harding joked. “I’ve got a couple of speaking engagements, but other than that I’ve intentionally not made any plans.”A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Harding received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Wake Forest University, where he also met his future wife. He was admitted to the North Carolina Bar the year he graduated, 1959, and he became a Florida Bar member one year later.The Harding family then picked up and moved to Ft. Gordon, Georgia, where Harding spent part of his Army tour as assistant staff judge advocate from 1960-62, before finally settling in Jacksonville.After two years as assistant county solicitor in Duval County (1962-63), Harding went into private practice.Harding’s initial ascent to the bench has been told and retold: In 1968, he drove to Jacksonville’s airport to meet then-Gov. Claude Kirk, who suggested the gubernatorial entourage ride into town in Harding’s car.“I was a young father on a budget,” Harding said. “And my car was a Volkswagen beetle that could barely fit two adults comfortably.”The solution? Harding and Kirk chatted comfortably in a Florida Highway Patrol car, while a staff member followed in the famed beetle.Not only a memorable meeting, but a productive one, as well. Kirk appointed Harding to the juvenile bench mere days later. 1976, Harding was elected chief judge of the circuit and soon became the first dean of the Judicial College. In 1991, he was appointed by then-Gov. Lawton Chiles to the Supreme Court.During his tenure on the court, Harding and his fellow justices dealt with such high-profile issues as the election recount and the death penalty, and during Harding’s two-year stint as chief justice from 1998 to 2000, he oversaw initiatives to improve diversity, increase public access, and boost public confidence in the courts.As chief justice in 1999, he presided over a ceremonial session honoring Florida civil rights leader Virgil Hawkins, who in the 1950s was denied admission to the University of Florida law school because of discriminatory opinions issued by the state Supreme Court.“It was crucially important to me that the court formally apologize for our predecessors’ conduct in denying Virgil Hawkins what was his legal right,” Harding said. “And I was deeply honored that members of the Hawkins family came here to accept that apology in the very same courtroom where these events occurred in the 1950s.”Though issues like the election or the Virgil Hawkins ceremony are more newsworthy than many of the court’s typical cases, Harding stressed that he has “always tried to think that each case is very important to the people who are involved.”While it’s easier at the Supreme Court level to detach oneself from the emotional aspects of a case, Harding said there have been cases over the years — especially cases involving children and families — that have tugged at his heart strings.“You can’t get involved in these issues without having some degree of emotion,” he said. “In my 23 years on the trial bench, I can recall any number of cases in which my heart went out to the people, primarily because the resolution of their legal issues was not going to resolve the emotional issues for them.”Harding said he considered his position as “an opportunity to be of service and sometimes maybe a voice of reason in a sea of anxiety.”While he may not miss those emotionally challenging cases, Harding said he will miss the people he’s worked with.“I have had an extraordinary opportunity over the 34 years to work with some neat people,” he said. “And, of course, I’ll miss the day-to-day contact with those folks.”Leaving his life’s work behind may be difficult, but finding a replacement for Harding will be even more difficult.“I, in particular, have always appreciated the balance he brings to the court,” President Russell said. “I’m confident the governor will appoint someone to replace him who will bring that same balance to the court.”Gov. Bush will appoint Harding’s replacement from a list submitted by the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission. The next justice to leave the bench will likely be Justice Leander Shaw, who must retire in early 2003 because of his age. At 71, he has already passed the mandatory retirement age of 70, but can remain on the bench because the retirement age fell in the second half of his six-year term. read more

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » How many different vendors do you use to manage and maintain all of your bank or credit union’s ATM and branch equipment? And how many hours are you dedicating each week just to keep that equipment up and running? There’s likely a better deal out there — one that can save you both time and money. By simply reviewing your current contracts, you’ll be able to streamline your efforts and:Eliminate poor use of branch staff timeResolve unnecessary double coverageImprove service response time and qualityImprove overall equipment maintenance and management processesFocus on core competencies that help your institution reach its goalsI know this can be accomplished because it’s what I help banks and credit unions do, day in and day out. All it takes is willingness to disrupt the status quo and explore other options.What’s involved in equipment management?When you consider all of the different equipment it takes to keep your financial institution running, the list is staggering (and the costs even more so).  Your bank or credit union probably engages with third-party vendors to maintain:last_img read more

first_imgby Jim LitkeAP Sports Columnist (AP)—The calls that every agent with a kid in the draft dreads most are about money.“The first call is always about taxes,” longtime NFL agent Ralph Cindrich said a while back. “So few of these guys have had after-school jobs that they see their first paycheck and demand to know where the rest of the money went.”That won’t be a problem with Ndamukong Suh. NDAMUKONG SUH It’s not just that the projected top-three pick come April 22 is smart and sophisticated, qualities that Suh displayed again during an appearance last week on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” Smart enough, anyway, that he’s lined up his first charitable donation even before he’s seen a single paycheck.At a time when most guys in his position would be out pricing a Bentley, the 23-year-old defensive tackle just pledged $2.6 million to his alma mater. It was the largest single gift ever by a Nebraska football player, among the largest-known contributions ever by an active pro athlete to his alma mater, and unprecedented for someone who hasn’t yet signed a contract.“I didn’t feel like I had to, but I definitely wanted to give back to the university that gave me so much,” Suh said when the donation was announced, just before Nebraska’s Red-White spring game kicked off.Pro athletes donate plenty to charities, but for reasons that university fundraising officers don’t completely understand, they give only so much to old State U.There are exceptions, to be sure: Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony recently gave $3 million to fund construction of a basketball facility at Syracuse; and Steve Smith, who collected a few sportsmanship and citizenship awards during 15 seasons in the NBA, donated $2.5 million to help build a student-athlete center on the Michigan State campus that bears his mother’s name.Veteran agents like Cindrich and Nashville, Tenn.-based Brian Parker routinely encourage clients to donate, as much to build relationships in the communities where they work or live as to take advantage of potential tax breaks. Even so, Parker was heartened to see a draft pick who’s that far out in front of the process.“It’s encouraging for a lot of reasons,” he said, “but it’s definitely not the norm. The best way to sell a player to a general manager is to be able to say he’s got it all—height, weight, speed, character, consistency and smarts. Everything I’ve read about Suh suggests he’s one of those.”The job of selling Suh belongs to agent Roosevelt Barnes, and it’s likely to be an easy one. The most recent comparable example was LSU defender Tyson Jackson, who went to Kansas City with the third overall pick in 2009 and has a six-year deal with $31 million guaranteed. And keep in mind that Jackson wasn’t nearly as decorated as Suh—a Heisman finalist and winner of the Outland, Bednarik, Nagurski and Associated Press Player of the Year awards last season.Then again, predicting any player’s future is always risky, even for someone like Suh, who came into the NFL scouting combine at 6-7 and 305 pounds and not only did every drill—something top picks often avoid—but nailed each one. He bench-pressed 225 pounds 32 times, ran 40 yards in 4.98 seconds and soared 35-1/2 inches in the vertical jump, the best for any defensive tackle since 2000.Yet scouts find his backstory just as compelling. It’s one reason why he’s been trailed by a camera crew for an NFL Network documentary the past few weeks. His mother, Bernadette, is a schoolteacher from Jamaica who required her son to post a 3.0 grade-point average before he could play football. His father, Michael, was born in Cameroon and became a mechanical engineer after moving to Portland.Suh graduated from Nebraska with a degree in construction management from the College of Engineering, to which $600,000 of his total pledge will go to endow a scholarship. The other $2 million will fund a renovation of the Cornhuskers’ strength and conditioning center, where Suh put in long hours.“He was one of the strongest guys I’ve ever seen on the field,” Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini told ESPN.com recently. He has great explosion, and despite all that, he moves like a basketball player. He’s really smooth.”And if nothing else, Suh’s donation should see to it that he won’t be the last guy from Nebraska to fit the description.(Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press.)last_img read more

first_imgMiami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, left, and center Chris Bosh watch from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, April 16, 2014 in Miami. The 76ers defeated the Heat 100-87. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)MIAMI (AP) — Finally, the NBA playoffs are set.It took the entire season to fill out those brackets.Overtime thrillers in Memphis and Charlotte, a go-ahead dunk in Oklahoma City to win a game and cap another scoring title for Kevin Durant, plus some good old-fashioned disinterest by Brooklyn … all that, and more, on the final night of the season was needed before the eight conference-quarterfinal matchups in this season’s NBA playoffs could be decided.In the Western Conference, San Antonio — the league’s best team this season, and a club that had the NBA title slip from its fingers a year ago — opens with Dallas. Oklahoma City gets Memphis, the Los Angeles Clippers face Golden State and Houston squares off with Portland. In the East, it’s Indiana against Atlanta, Miami against Charlotte, Toronto facing Brooklyn and Chicago meeting Washington.And for the third straight year, it’s the same question entering the playoffs: Can anyone beat the Heat?By late June, we’ll have an answer.“Now it’s time,” Houston’s Chandler Parsons said, “for the real fun.”If what’s occurred in the season’s first 170 nights wasn’t the real fun, then these playoffs could be epic.More points were scored in the NBA than ever before this year, more 3-pointers were both shot and made in league history, the Spurs won 62 games — including 19 straight — and Durant scored at least 25 points in 41 consecutive games, a stretch of offensive brilliance that spanned exactly half of the season. Durant wound up winning his fourth scoring crown, making him the overwhelming favorite to deny LeBron James a third straight MVP award.James has taken the high road, lauding Durant’s season and saying he would be a worthy MVP.Really, though, it’s obvious that the trophy James is most concerned with is the one that’ll be handed out at season’s end. The Heat won the last two championships of David Stern’s era as commissioner, and would enjoy nothing more than being the first team to accept the Larry O’Brien Trophy from new Commissioner Adam Silver.“What’s coming over the next couple months, we know that’s how we’ll be judged,” Heat forward Shane Battier said.The 16 teams heading to the playoffs were known before Wednesday, but it wasn’t until the final night before nine of the seeds were secured and six of the eight first-round matchups were finalized.Memphis held off Dallas 106-105 in overtime, giving the Grizzlies the No. 7 seed and a shot at the Thunder. Monta Ellis’ missed 20-foot jumper at the buzzer for the Mavericks meant they would be heading to San Antonio to open up the playoffs this weekend — and Dallas has lost nine straight times to the Spurs.“Eventually,” Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki said, “we will win one.”Losing nine straight to one opponent, that’s not good.Losing 15 straight, even worse. That’s what Charlotte has to overcome against the Heat — who are 15-0 against the Bobcats since James and Chris Bosh arrived to team with Dwyane Wade in Miami.Charlotte went 7-59 two seasons ago. It went 43-39 this season, clearly having undergone a brilliant turnaround.Alas, 43 wins wouldn’t have come close to being enough out West.Phoenix’s title hopes were doomed by perhaps geography more than anything else. The Suns won 48 games and are done. Toronto won 48 games and earned both a No. 3 seed in the East and a division title.“Very disappointing,” Suns guard Archie Goodwin said.The East was a mess entering the season’s final night with five seeds still up for grabs. Chicago lost to Charlotte in overtime, meaning Toronto finished third and the Bulls got No. 4. But the last three seeds needed a bit longer to be settled, and even though the Bobcats won, they couldn’t pass a Washington team that wound up overtaking the Nets for fifth place before the night was over.Nets coach Jason Kidd rested all five of his starters, plus some backups, even though his club could have finished No. 5.“I like right where we are,” Kidd said.Kidd probably had a good idea going into Wednesday night that Washington would beat Boston, so it’s clear that he didn’t mind dropping down a spot in the East bracket. Brooklyn would likely face Miami — a team it swept — in the second round now. Had Brooklyn been the fifth seed and won an opening series, it would have likely faced Indiana, which topped the Nets in all four of their meetings.Fitting, then, that talk of tanking — a ploy teams who are looking to rebuild through the draft are often accused of — permeated the season’s final night as well.“You’ve got to be careful what you wish for,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. “I’ve been in both situations. You think you want to play a certain team now and then once you start preparing for them you say ‘Whoa, that team’s pretty good.’ and then all at once you’ve got a dogfight. So I think the best way to approach it is let the basketball gods decide.”There’s no more tanking now.For the 16 teams left standing, it’s title or nothing. And the journey starts Saturday.___Follow Tim Reynolds on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ByTimReynoldslast_img read more