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Judge Marcia G. Cooke (1954-2023) Video

Updated: Mar 27

Recipient of the Edward B. Davis Award 2023

This video was screened at the 2023 Annual Awards & Installation on October 21, 2023

Four Seasons Hotel Miami



Transcript:


Judge Marcia Cooke, a beacon of justice, a pillar of the community, and the 2023 recipient of the Edward B. Davis “NED” award for service to the federal bench and bar. Today, we honor her life, her work, and her undeniable impact on our community. Born in Sumter, South Carolina, Marcia Cooke was destined for greatness. Her upbringing instilled in her a strong sense of justice and community service. As a young attorney, she rose through the ranks with unyielding dedication, becoming an assistant U.S. attorney, and later serving as the Chief Inspector General for the Executive Office of the Governor of Florida. Her reputation for fairness and integrity caught the eye of the legal community, culminating in her historic appointment to the federal bench as the first black woman federal district judge in Florida by President George W. Bush. In her chambers, Judge Cooke was known for her wisdom, poise, and commitment to the principles that make our legal system one of the finest in the world. Judge Cooke was not just an extraordinary legal mind, but also a compassionate mentor, colleague, and friend. She was beloved by staff and respected by peers. Away from the courtroom, she was a loving sister, a cherished friend, and a part of many lives.


Marcia Cooke was both my dear friend and colleague. Of course, she was a pioneer in our legal community, known for her intellect as well as her even temperament. But what I gained most to think from her as both a friend and as a colleague is her fundamental sense of fairness and that she treated everyone with respect, no matter their lot in life. And she set a fine example for all of us as public servants. I miss her.


Judge Cooke was pivotal to my career. She was my champion. She saw things that I could achieve that I couldn't fathom at the time. And in true Judge Cooke style, she didn't just stop at encouraging words. She actively took steps to open doors and never wavered in her support.


Her impact on the judiciary and the entire bar. She leaves a legacy of service. She leaves a legacy of integrity. She leaves a legacy of kindness. She was a compassionate person. She cared a lot about the community. She cared a lot about the profession and a lot about our country. She left her office, she knew her office was a public trust. When she was a prosecutor, she treated that office as a public trust. When she was the Chief Inspector General of the State of Florida, she treated that office as a public trust. And that level of commitment, that public spiritedness, is her legacy.


Marcia Cooke and I were the very best of friends, confidants, and restaurant and travel buddies. Marcia was fiercely intelligent, yet with common sense. She was a dreamer, but always kept an eye out for practicalities. She was an encourager to me and others. She was courageous. She was just an all-around nice person. My husband Michael and I miss her on a daily basis, and will love her forever.


As we posthumously award Judge Marcia Cooke with the Edward B. Davis Award, we celebrate her commitment to excellence and her service to the community, the Federal bench, and the Federal bar. Her legacy lives on in the judgments she made, the people she inspired, and the lives she touched; she will be deeply missed, yet forever remembered. 


The recipient of the 2023 Edward B. Davis “NED” Award, Judge Marcia Cooke.



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