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Date of Issue: December 30, 2009

Ex-Islander argues before U.S. Supreme Court

Florida solicitor general Scott Makar, who grew up on Anna Maria Island, with wife Nancy Hogshead-Makar and son Aaron, 9, on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court Dec. 2, where Makar argued for the state in a lawsuit filed against beach renourishment in Walton County, Fla. Islander Photo: Courtesy Scott Makar

Florida Solicitor General Scott Makar had a personal connection with a case he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court Dec. 2.

Makar represented the state before the Supreme Court in a lawsuit filed by six Walton County condominium owners who claimed they were entitled to compensation from the state for a public beach renourishment project that brought sand to their private beach.

 He also represented the state earlier this year when the owners appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the state.

Makar’s youth and teenage years were spent on Anna Maria Island.

“I grew up in Holmes Beach,” he said.

“My family moved to Holmes Beach in 1969 and I graduated from Manatee High School in 1977.”

Makar and his family lived in the 200 block of 58th Street in Holmes Beach, and he remembers beach renourishment and erosion was a big issue even then.

“I remember there was some beach renourishment going on after a hurricane and tropical storm exposed the support pilings for the Martinique condominiums. There was a real concern about whether it would plummet into the Gulf,” he said.

Makar said if memory serves him correctly, the three-story building height limit was enacted shortly afterwards by Holmes Beach.

“So, much of my youth included exposure to beach erosion matters and saving the beach, though I can’t say I knew much of the technical details of how restoration projects were funded or conducted. I learned a lot as I prepared for the argument in the Stop the Beach Renourishment Inc. vs. the Florida Department of Environmental Protection,” he said.

Makar recalled that he was named the most valuable player in the Island Little League one year, playing for a team called High 12. It earned him a picture in The Islander.

After high school, Makar attended Mercer University in Atlanta and the University of Florida in Gainesville, earning a master’s and doctorate degree along the way, in addition to his law degree.

He married Olympic swimmer Nancy Hogshead, who won three gold medals and one silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He and his family now reside in Jacksonville, where his wife is a law professor.

Makar was appointed Florida’s solicitor general in February 2007.

“The beach renourishment case was definitely one of personal interest to me. I still recall growing up with the beautiful beaches of Anna Maria Island, so it was very special for me to be involved and defend the case,” Makar said.

While his family no longer resides on the Island, he does have a brother living in Cortez and frequently vacations on Anna Maria Island.

Makar said he’s hopeful for a favorable ruling by the Supreme Court. A decision is expected in June.