In a hastily scheduled and fast moving press conference late Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis managed to squeeze in his announcement of the appointment of Jamie R. Grosshands as the state’s newest Supreme Court Justice amid comments about the future of Judge Renatha Francis and how she had made the decision to withdraw from consideration amid legal wrangling over her appointment on Friday.
The governor gave reporters an hour notice before the 5pm event, after the current members of the state’s Supreme Court had issued a writ of mandamus forcing the governor to tip his hand in a legal showdown after the court ruled his previous appointee, Francis, was not yet eligible to serve as a justice under the state’s own constitution because she still remained a few weeks shy of having the required 10 years of bar association membership.
Grosshans appointment came toward the end of the press conference after the event kicked off with a statement by DeSantis that initially focused on a phone call he made to President Donald Trump in which he asked the president to appoint Francis as a federal judge. He then briefly turned the podium over to Francis.
“Thank you governor, for every opportunity that you’ve given me, and for your faith and confidence in me, that brought me almost to the Supreme Court,” Francis told the assembled reporters. “You know, sometimes life doesn’t work out the way we planned, but who am I to complain?”
Francis talked briefly about her life as an immigrant and how she’s a living embodiment of the American dream and about DeSantis’s call to Trump.
“If I were to be selected, to be nominated as a federal judge,” she said, “I can promise you I will faithfully adhere to the text of the Constitution and faithfully apply the laws of the country to the facts before me.”
After Francis relinquished the podium to DeSantis, the governor then announced his selection of Grosshans.
“Yesterday I had the opportunity of letting Judge Jamie Grosshans know that I was selecting her to serve as a Justice on the Florida Supreme Court,” DeSantis said, “And as you can see, just like Judge Francis, she’s a working mom,” DeSantis said, gesturing to the newly minted Justice standing to his right with her family. “She understands the proper role of the court to the apply the law as it is written. I think Judge Grosshans will be an inspiration to a lot of working moms out there.”
Grosshands was appointed to the Fifth District Court of Appeal in 2018 by Governor Rick Scott. Prior to her appointment to the appellate court, she served as an Orange County Court Judge in the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida where she presided over criminal and civil matters.
“I am humbled by this appointment and by your trust in me,” she said. “I’m also honored to stand here today with my friend Judge Francis, I know this is not the outcome you planned but God will, I know, see you through this, and we are cheering for you and your family in this next adventure.”
Grosshans graduated cum laude from the University of Mississippi School of Law. While there, she clerked for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi. Following admittance to the Florida Bar, she served as an Assistant State Attorney for Orange County, Florida in both the misdemeanor and felony divisions.