For the past 15 years, Judge John Bowman has served as a circuit judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit Court in Florida. Recently, Judge John Bowman adjudicated a case which had national implications.
A Republican voter had filed a lawsuit alleging that two US senators could not run in the 2016 presidential election because neither of them were American citizens. The plaintiff, Michael Voeltz, maintained that senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were not natural born citizens of the United States, as the Constitution requires, and therefore could not be placed on the ballot in Florida’s March 15 presidential primary.
The lawsuit noted that Rubio had been born in Miami in 1971 to Cuban immigrant parents who later became American citizens. Cruz’ birthplace was Canada, to an American mother and a Cuban-born father. When he was four, he moved to Texas with his parents.
Following legal tradition, lawyers for Cruz and Rubio argued that the term “natural born citizen” applied to anyone who was a citizen at birth. The Naturalization Act of 1790 held that the status also applied to persons born to US citizens outside the country. Voeltz asserted the phrase covered only persons born in the US whose parents were citizens.
Dismissing the case, Judge Bowman told Voeltz he lacked standing, that is, the capacity to file a lawsuit in that jurisdiction. The primary election went on as planned.
The American Inns of Court consists of over 25,000 judges, legal scholars, attorneys, and law students and aims to promote professionalism in the legal field. The organization also honors legal professionals through a number of awards, including the following:
- Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Professional Service. The Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Professional Service honors an American Inns of Court member with no more than 10 years of experience for dedication to pro bono or public interest activities.
- A. Sherman Christensen Award. Named after the founder of the organization, the A. Sherman Christensen Award honors an individual who has provided exceptional leadership to the American Inns of Court movement at either the local or national level.
- Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Award for Professionalism and Ethics. The Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Award for Professionalism and Ethics recognizes an individual who has demonstrated ethics and professionalism as well as legal excellence. The award is not limited to members of the American Inns of Court, with outside attorneys, judges, journalists, government officials, and philanthropists eligible for consideration.
A juris doctor graduate of St. Thomas University, Judge John Bowman serves as a circuit judge in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Outside of this role, Judge John Bowman has long been an advocate for National Adoption Day.
Sponsored by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, The Alliance for Children’s Rights, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, and the Children’s Action Network, National Adoption Day is a collaborative effort to increase public awareness of children in foster care awaiting adoption. In the United States, over 110,000 children are in foster care, and the average time to adoption is nearly three years. Many children never find a permanent home, with over 23,000 aging out of the foster care system each year.
Held on the Saturday immediately preceding Thanksgiving, National Adoption Day has helped nearly 65,000 children enter permanent homes since 2000. In 2016, 5,100 children were adopted on National Adoption Day thanks to the participation of 430 cities across the country.
Since 2002, Judge John Bowman has held the office of circuit judge in Florida’s highest civil trial court. Before joining the bench, Judge John Bowman was a probate attorney.
Probate is the process of settling estates under the supervision of the court. When a person dies (the decedent) leaving behind an estate, the court supervises the administration of the estate to ensure that all assets are gathered, creditors are paid, taxes are paid, and the remaining property is distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries. The purpose of probate is to safeguard the decedent’s estate and prevent fraud.
Probate administration in Florida applies only to probate assets, or assets that form part of the decedent’s estate and were registered in the decedent’s own name. Probate assets include bank accounts, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and real estate.
Assets that cannot be probate assets include real estate owned under joint tenancy (ownership passes automatically to the surviving co-owner) and beneficiary designations such as retirement accounts with named beneficiaries.
John Bowman is a circuit judge based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A professional with many years of experience, Judge Bowman was recently reappointed to the Florida Supreme Court Bar Admission Committee. Judge John Bowman is a staunch advocate of National Adoption Day.
An event to encourage adoption and awareness of the children who are waiting in foster care and orphanages, National Adoption Day takes place on November 19th and originated in the year 2000. Since its start, National Adoption Day has helped place more than 50,000 children and adolescents with new families.
National Adoption Day is a community effort. Community administrators encourage local orphanages and foster care families to set up events on the day, giving them creative leeway in the planning and activities.
After November 19th, new families are asked to participate in the One Day project to inspire future adoptions. The One Day project is a simple social media plan in which new parents and adoptees share their personal stories of the day they became a family.
Judge John Bowman was elected president of the Stephen R. Booher American Inn of Court for the 2014-15 term. As president, Judge John Bowman presided over the activities of the chapter. Find out more about this and other chapters of the American Inns of Court below.
What is the American Inns of Court?
Comprised of diverse legal professionals from across the United States, the American Inns of Court is an association tasked with upholding professionalism within the legal community. Regional chapters of the Inns of Court are found throughout the country. The association’s goals are achieved through regular gatherings, in which members are encouraged to network, develop relationships, seek advice from more experienced members, and assist in the development of new attorneys and legal professionals.
What are the membership requirements of the American Inns of Court?
Membership in the American Inns of Court requires active attendance in the chapter’s regular meetings. Generally, meetings are held once a month, from September through May. Additionally, each member serves as part of a pupilage team, and each pupilage team is in charge of organizing one program each year.
How many members are in the American Inns of Court?
With chapters across the United States, the American Inns of Court has more than 30,000 active participants and more than 100,000 alumni.
A circuit judge in Florida, Judge John Bowman has more than 10 years’ experience working with youth in the Juvenile Dependency division. Judge John Bowman remains active as an advocate for youth in need through National Adoption Day.
Every year, National Adoption Day increases awareness of the more than 100,000 children in foster care awaiting forever homes. Among the many myths surrounding adoption, one of the most prominent is that children labeled as having “special needs” always have a physical or mental handicap.
In truth, this label may simply mean that a child is a minority or is older than other children in foster care. It may also mean that a child needs to be placed in a home with his or her siblings.
Adoptive parents should know that some children do have emotional problems, but this is often the result of having birth parents who were not nurturing caretakers. These children are not in the foster care system because there is something wrong with them. They simply need a loving family to provide a stable, permanent home.
Judge John Bowman received his bachelors degree in public administration from Florida Atlantic University, where he was a Phi Theta Kappa scholar. To become a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Judge John Bowman was required to fulfill certain eligibility requirements. The requirements necessary today are as follows:
Potential members must be enrolled in an accredited institution and have completed at least 12 hours of coursework that can be applied toward an associate degree. Local chapters determine the eligibility of part-time students. Generally, a student must have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher; however, local chapters may raise GPA standards in accordance with the Phi Theta Kappa constitution.
Moral standards for the society are in place and potential members must adhere to them. For example, anyone currently incarcerated is not eligible. Additionally, an invitation to membership must be received from the chapter within the college the student currently attends.
With a law career spanning nearly two decades, Judge John Bowman works as a circuit court judge in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, serving a jurisdiction of more than 1.8 million constituents. Judge John Bowman has worked to enact positive changes in his community. For instance, he has influenced cases of adoption, lowering the time it takes for local children to find permanent home placement from four years to six months or less.
Advocacy for children in the foster care system takes many forms. One type of effort, held annually across the country, is National Adoption Day. Launched in 1999, the one-day event happens each year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in cities around the US. As a result of the multiple agencies and sponsors coming together on behalf of this mission, 4,000 children were adopted during National Adoption Day in 2015. It was the 16th-annual celebration of the initiative.
A member of the Florida Bar for nearly three decades, Judge John Bowman was elected to serve as a circuit judge in 2002, leading him to the Juvenile Dependency Division in the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida. Judge John Bowman has also been involved in a number of noteworthy cases in Broward County, including a lawsuit related to the 2016 Republican presidential primary ballot.
In March 2016, he ruled against an attempt to have Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz removed from the ballot based on a claim that the candidates aren’t natural-born citizens and are therefore ineligible to run for president. The lawsuit claimed that both Cruz and Rubio became citizens without undertaking a legal naturalization process and argued that a person can’t simultaneously be naturalized and natural-born.
During the hearing, Judge Bowman explained that the while the Constitution requires a president to be natural-born, there is no binding definition of the term. He also rejected the lawsuit because the plaintiff failed to include the Florida Secretary of State as a defendant. Responsible for the Division of Elections, the Secretary of State's office alone can be compelled to eliminate a candidate from a ballot. Judge Bowman further noted that there were no grounds for the lawsuit since the plaintiff wasn’t injured by Cruz and Rubio being on the ballot.
Judge John Bowman has accumulated a long record of helping streamline the judicial system to benefit children.