- Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday appointed Renatha Francis to the Florida Supreme Court
- Francis is set to begin her duties on September 1
- DeSantis attempted to appoint Francis in 2020, but a lawsuit over her failure to satisfy the ten-year bar member requirement prevented the measure
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday announced the appointment of Renatha Francis to the Florida Supreme Court. Francis’ appointment fills the vacancy of former Florida Supreme Court Justice Alan Lawson, who announced his retirement in early 2022.
Francis has served as a judge on the 15th Circuit Court since 2019 and previously served as a judge at the Miami-Dade County Court from 2017-2019. Francis also served as an attorney for the First District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee from 2011 to 2017.
“Judge Renatha Francis has an incredible life story that epitomizes the American Dream and proves that those who come to our country have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and, through hard work and the application of their God-given talents, reach the highest heights of whatever field they choose,” said DeSantis. “Her pursuit of a legal career began later in life than most attorneys, yet she has advanced rapidly on her merit to serve as a judge first in Miami-Dade County and then on the 15th Circuit Court. When she takes her place on the Florida Supreme Court, I am confident she will serve our state with distinction.”
When DeSantis attempted to nominate Francis to the same post in 2020, a lawsuit objected that she had not satisfied the criterion of being a member of the Florida Bar for ten years.
As a result of the lawsuit, the position was given to Jamie Grosshans.
“I’m incredibly honored and humbled by Governor DeSantis’ unwavering support for my ascension to the Florida Supreme Court,” said Francis. “I may be taking my seat on the bench two years later than anticipated, but as a student of history, I continue to be in awe of this country’s respect for the rule of law and the freedoms guaranteed in the text of the United States Constitution. As a Supreme Court Justice, I will apply the law as written by the people’s duly-elected representatives, knowing that I am a member of the judiciary in a system with separation of powers.”
Francis’ comment on “applying the law as written by the people’s duly-elected representatives” comes just a day after DeSantis controversially announced that he is taking executive action to suspend Hillsborough County state attorney Andrew Warren. The governor stated that the suspension is due to a “neglect of duty.”
Notably, DeSantis claimed that Warren pledged not to enforce the state’s recently-passed 15-week abortion law, as well as signing letters saying that he would also not enforce laws prohibiting sex changes for minors.
The governor’s press release states that he has the authority under the Florida Constitution to suspend state officials for reasons of misfeasance, malfeasance, or neglect of duty.
State leaders and sheriffs stated Warren repeatedly tried to install himself as an arbiter of what laws will and will not be enforced within his jurisdiction.
“State Attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda,” DeSantis said on Thursday. “It is my duty to hold Florida’s elected officials to the highest standards for the people of Florida.”