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Wade Hopping, lobbyist and former Supreme Court justice, dies

Longtime lobbyist and former Supreme Court justice Wade Hopping passed away early this morning, at about 12:30 a.m., following his battle with cancer and a recent stroke.

Hopping, 78, has been a Capitol fixture for five decades, beginning with his service as a top aide to Gov. Claude Kirk in the 1960s. He served for two years as a Florida Supreme Court justice ('68-'69) and was defeated for election. As a lobbyist, his areas of expertise have included growth management, land use and private property rights, and has long been a wise and quotable figure on everything dealing with Tallahassee.

"Justice Hopping will always remain a highly respected member of the legal community in Tallahassee and the state,” said Florida Chief Justice Peggy A. Quince.  “His contributions benefited all three branches of government, ranging from his work as an advisor to Gov. Claude Kirk, to his service on the Supreme Court, and to his later work helping draft and win approval for groundbreaking state legislation.   On behalf of the Court, I extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends."

Gov. Charlie Crist, after Cabinet, told reporters: "I am very saddened by that news. Wade Hopping was a brilliant man. A great public servant."