Gov. DeSantis appoints Renatha Francis to Supreme Court, for second time
Renatha Francis is at the center of a bizarre story that involves a threat to remove children.

Francis
The Palm Beach County Judge was just shy of meeting the Supreme Court bench requirements last time.

As expected, Gov. Ron DeSantis made a second try at appointing Judge Renatha Francis to the state Supreme Court Friday, making her the second Black woman to serve on the state’s highest court.

She will replace Florida Supreme Court Justice Alan Lawson, who is stepping down in August after 20 years. It makes the current Supreme Court a majority of DeSantis-appointed Justices.

Francis, a Jamaican-born immigrant, was the Governor’s first choice for a vacancy on the court in 2020, but the Florida Supreme Court ruled she was four months shy of having 10 years’ membership in the Florida Bar, which is a constitutional requirement for sitting on the state Supreme Court.

“I think she’ll be a source of inspiration for a lot of folks out there who are younger, who are studying hard,” DeSantis said, dismissing the previous rejection of her nomination as “disputable and a disputed point of law.”

Francis choked up with emotion as she introduced her mother, who had not completed high school as she came from a small family farm in Jamaica.

“What my mom lacked in financial resources she made up for in grit, determination, faith and hard work,” Francis said. “As a student of history, growing up I was and I remain in awe of the United States Constitution, its freedoms, its respect for the law.”

Her appointment received applause from the Florida Justice Reform Institute, which has the mission to fight wasteful civil litigation. William Large, Institute president, called DeSantis’ pick “thoughtful and decisive leadership.”

The announcement was held in the Richard & Pat Johnson Palm Beach History Museum and Large noted the historic nature of Francis’ appointment.

“Justice Francis is also only the second African-American woman appointed to the Florida Supreme Court, and we further applaud Gov. DeSantis for his continuing commitment to a Court that can draw on a rich diversity of life experience,” Large said.

Peggy Quince became the first Black woman to sit on the Court when she was appointed Dec. 8, 1998.

Francis’ original nomination came when DeSantis sought to replace a pair of Justices leaving the Court, Barbara Lagoa and Robert Luck

After a court battle spurred by state Rep. Geraldine Thompson, a Windermere Democrat, the Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Francis didn’t meet the constitutional requirements at the time to take a place on the bench.

DeSantis said he considered a fresh slate of candidates when Lawson’s seat came open, but ultimately landed back on Francis.

“We ran all the nominees through a very good process,” DeSantis said. “We were happy to try to appoint Judge Francis two years ago. … But then seeing how she’s progressed since then, she’s done even better. … She understands what the proper role of a judge is in America’s constitutional system.”

Francis was a small business owner in her native country of Jamaica, where she ran two successful enterprises while being the primary caregiver for her younger siblings, according to a news release from the Governor’s Office.

“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,” DeSantis said. “When she takes her place on the Florida Supreme Court, I am confident she will serve our state with distinction.”

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Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected]


8 comments

  • Elliott Offen

    August 5, 2022 at 1:19 pm

    Congratulations. You’ve been promoted to master deck sweep on DeSantis slave ship. Let the grifting, low wage slavery, and mass incarceration continue in Florida forever.

    Reply

    • John Doe

      August 5, 2022 at 1:22 pm

      Hard working women of color bring out the leftist misogynist racists. You triggered Shemale Elliott?

      Reply

  • John Doe

    August 5, 2022 at 1:21 pm

    Leftist scum start calling her an “Uncle Tom” in 3, 2, 1…

    Reply

    • Joe Corsin

      August 5, 2022 at 5:29 pm

      She’s an uncle Tom. Leftists will save you from low wage slavery…save your kids from slavery by the rich GOP money hoarders. No problem.

      Reply

  • Elliott Offen

    August 5, 2022 at 3:37 pm

    Racist? She is working up underneath that cracker so I don’t know what the hell you talking about. I wish for her to be liberated from this circumstance, for Florida workers to be liberated from the low wage exploitation, and for Floridians to be liberated for the REPUBLICAN HOG GRIFTERS, REDNECK RICH, RIGHT WING ANTI GOVERNMENT TERRORISTS, AND SO CALLED RELIGIOUS MANIPULATORS.

    Reply

  • Tom

    August 5, 2022 at 10:31 pm

    Will go down as greatest appointment to court.
    Highly likely to be supreme ct candidate per next potus, when Gov Ron is potus.
    No stopping him, the best!

    Reply

    • Marylou

      August 6, 2022 at 2:29 pm

      Another “greatest appointment”: The Kavanaugh 4,500 sexual assault tips to the FBI tip line were sent to Trump White House without investigation; and Trump White House directed what witnesses the FBI would interview. FBI Director Christopher Wray admitted on Thursday to Sen. Whitehouse that the agency’s investigation into allegations against Kavanaugh was a sham.

      Reply

  • marylou

    August 6, 2022 at 11:09 am

    Another “greatest appointment”: The Kavanaugh 4,500 sexual assault tips from FBI tip line were sent to Trump White House without investigation; and Trump White House directed what witnesses FBI would interview. FBI Director Christopher Wray, admitted on Thursday to Sen. Whitehouse that the agency’s investigation into allegations against Kavanaugh was a sham.

    Reply

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