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Shelby Highsmith Edit Profile

Shelby Highsmith, American federal judge. Bar: Florida 1958. Decorated Bronze Star; recipient Outstanding Alumni Achievement Law award, University Missouri, 1998, Korean War Service medal, President South Korea on 50th Anniversary of Korean War, Distinguished Alumnus award, Georgia Military College, 2002.


Highsmith, Shelby was born on January 31, 1929 in Jacksonville, Florida, United States. Son of Isaac Shelby and Edna Mae (Phillips) Highsmith.


He graduated from Georgia Military College with an Associate of Arts degree in 1949. Highsmith graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in 1958 and from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law with an LL.B. in 1958.


He served in the United States Army from 1949-1955. Highsmith was in private practice in Kansas City, Missouri from 1958 to 1959, before relocating to Florida and entering private practice in Miami from 1959 to 1970. Highsmith served as chief legal advisor to the Governor's War on Crime Program, Florida from 1967 to 1968 and special counsel for the Florida Racing Commission from 1969 to 1970.

Highsmith resumed private practice in Miami in 1975. President George H.W. Bush nominated Highsmith on June 27, 1991 to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, to the seat vacated by Thomas E. Scott. Confirmed by the Senate on September 12, 1991, he received commission on September 16, 1991.

Highsmith assumed senior status on March 15, 2002, but stopped hearing cases in 2008. He died on December 2, 2015, at his family's home in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, from the effects of adrenal cancer.


Chief legal adviser Governor's War on Crime Program, 1967-1968. Special counsel Florida Racing Commission, 1969-1970. Member Inter-Agency Law Enforcement Planning Council Florida, 1969-1970.

Served to captain Army of the United States, 1949-1955. Fellow International Society Barristers. Member American Bar Association, Dade County Bar Association, Bench and Robe, Torch and Scroll, Miccosukee Golf and Country Club, Wildcat Cliffs Country Club, (Highlands, North Carolina), Omicron Delta, Phi Alpha Delta.


Married Mary Jane Zimmerman, November 25, 1972. Children: Holly Law, Shelby, Junior.