Legislation & Lobbying

Judges Get Mahogany, Granite Counters, Soundproof Toilets and More at New 'Taj Mahal' Courthouse

The public, lawmakers and at least one Florida newspaper columnist are outraged about the lavish new “Taj Mahal” courthouse built to house the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee at a cost of some $48 million.

Critics doubt that the judges there really needed mahogany trim, granite countertops and a soundproof private bathroom for each jurist—especially at a time when many in the state are struggling financially.

But despite the outrage expressed by state senators yesterday at a hearing, the judges who used “sleazy politics to sneak their new palace through the legislature” won, because the appellate judges are now housed in the courthouse, writes, writes a columnist for the St. Petersburg Times.

The sound and the fury of lawmakers means nothing, Howard Troxler wrote, unless they take action to prevent the appeals court from benefiting from its successful effort to construct a lavish new courthouse.

“Kick the judges out. Make them move. Give them a warehouse, a converted motel, a house trailer,” he suggests. “Move the Florida Supreme Court itself to the Taj, or the state court bureaucracy, or, for all I care, the Department of Weights and Widgets. Or sell it, once the market improves.”

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Grand Jury Probe of $48M ‘Taj Mahal’ Courthouse Goes Nowhere”

St. Petersburg Times (editorial): “Don’t sweep courthouse scandal under the rug”

Updated at 12:25 p.m. to include link to St. Petersburg Times editorial.

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