Governor Ron DeSantis has announced that Jamaican-born judge Renatha Francis will take her seat on Florida’s supreme court in two weeks, as initially planned, after a lawsuit had attempted to block Francis’ appointment.
DeSantis had announced the appointment of Judge Francis in May but two months after the announcement, Rep. Geraldine Thompson, Democrat of Windermere, filed a lawsuit claiming that Francis is ineligible to be appointed to the Court because she did not meet the required criteria when DeSantis appointed her.
According to Florida’s Constitution, to be appointed to the Supreme Court, a judge must have served 10 years as a member of the Florida Bar. Judge Francis has not yet completed her 10th year but will do so on September 24 this year. The high court had later ruled that Gov. Ron DeSantis exceeded his authority with the appointment.
At a news conference in Miramar on Sept. 9, DeSantis said he believes the lawsuit filed by State Rep. Thompson is based simply on partisanship.
“Here’s the thing. We have a divided country. Do we need everything to devolve into party and partisan differences?” the governor said. “Can’t we all just step back as Floridians and say, ‘You know what? All of those other candidates would have been good, as well. I think they would have applied the law well, but we have a candidate here who upon taking office is going to serve as an inspiration to so many people.’”
At the news conference, Broward Mayor Dale Holness was among other city officials that showed their support of DeSantis’ appointment of Francis.
On September 24, Francis is expected to take her seat and officially be the first Caribbean-American judge to be appointed to Florida’s Supreme Court.
She is currently a judge for the Florida 15th Circuit Court in Palm Beach County and previously served on the Florida 11th Circuit Court in Miami-Dade County.