President’s Day Counts in Florida

He's the Father of our Country, but his birthday is not a holiday in Florida State Courts. Source: U.S. National Archives

He’s the Father of our Country,
but his birthday is not a holiday
in Florida State Courts.
Source: U.S. National Archives

Is the third Monday in February a court holiday? The Florida state courts do not observe all of the same legal holidays their Federal counterparts do, and today is one of those days. Three years ago I pointed out that President’s Day was not a Florida court holiday, citing case law. Since then, Florida has clarified its rules and expressly enumerated the dates considered court holidays. Neither President’s Day nor Washington’s Birthday is on that list.

Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure expressly defines “Legal Holiday” as “the day set aside by statute for observing New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving Day, or Christmas Day.” Federal Statutes, in turn, identify the day we now more often call President’s Day as “Washington’s Birthday, the third Monday in February.” 5 U.S.C. § 6103. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 6 mirrors that definition. Florida cleaned it all up by putting its rules on calculating time all in one place, Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.514.

But it’s still not a state holiday. And poor Mr. Lincoln, the 1968 Monday Holidays Act took away his celebration, but did not rename the new, regularized Monday holiday day “President’s Day” despite common modern parlance. Under Federal law, the holiday is officially Washington’s Birthday, Lincoln be damned.

Now, if you are toiling in state court, back to work.

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