TALLAHASSEE – The Supreme Court of Florida on Friday barred the appointment of Renatha Francis to the state high court, disqualifying her for the job, and her ever joining panel to select Gon Ron DeSantis’ second black woman did not do.
The decision prevents a protracted legal battle ravaged by racial politics and unusual alliances, and appears likely to force the Republican governor to select a different judge to sit in court.
DeSantis tapped Francis in May to fill one of two vacancies and he went to court to highlight a Palm Beach County judge, a Jamaican-born black woman, as evidence of his commitment to adding diversity.
But Francis, who was merely a sitting black juror, quickly came under scrutiny because he was not a member of the Florida Bar for 10 years, a requirement in the state’s constitution. A lawsuit was filed by state Rep. Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando) challenging Francis Pick, setting up a multi-layered political drama, and Friday’s final rejection, which allowed the governor to accept his legal arguments.
The unanimous decision was a vague smackdown by a Republican governor’s court that has been widely accepted as conservative-leaning. Justice John Cariel dissociated himself from the case. Dissentis sought a justifiable excuse by arguing that Francis’ pick was a “declaration” and not a formal appointment, but that argument did not persuade the court.
The opinion states, “Either approach leads to the same conclusion: the Governor has not complied with the express orders of the Constitution.”
Adding to the intrigue of the ruling, it caused a major hole in the legal argument of DeSantis, which had coined the argument. A DeSantis was appointed to the court by the ruling Justice Carlos Muniz, who is also on the shortlist of possible future US Supreme Court elections for President Donald Trump.
The lawsuit was filed in July, but the political mad scramble did not kick in until after Tuesday’s ruling, where the court gave Desantes a day to explain them, so that they would not order him to seek new justice.
DeSantis also held a press conference on Wednesday in which the governor affiliated with a handful of Broward County Democrats, the political equivalent of dogs and cats coming together. It also included Haiti-born House Democrat Doty Joseph, who supported the Caribbean-born First Justice in the Supreme Court of Florida. He tried to assimilate the concerns of fellow Democrats by Francis’ argument from the mold of conservative Black jurist Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of France.
Joseph said, “My colleagues and I on the Florida Legislative Black Caucus determined that he was not Clarence Thomas.” “While she may be conservative and a member of the Federalist Society, none of those things disqualify Judge Francis for sealing our support or approval.”
“Not all skinfocin is kinfocal,” Joseph added to Thomas.
A day later, Thompson struck back what he said was a scandalous attempt to portray critics for opposing the taking of Francis on constitutional grounds as opposed to appointing a black woman to court .
“This is one of the worst and most horrific examples of racial tokenism I’ve seen in my life,” Thompson told reporters.
She noted that the Florida Supreme Court had six constitutionally qualified black judges applying for two vacant positions, but only forwarded to DeSantis by the Judicial Nomination Commission of the Francis Supreme Court, which a slate of judges Is entrusted with the recommendation. Have to choose from. Only Francis made the final cut.
“They could have chosen more [black judges], ”Thompson told POLITICO on Friday. “They did not.”
The court has also addressed critics who believe the 10-year bar membership provision in the Florida Constitution is arbitrary and should not be a reason for the appointment of the Florida Supreme Court. To underline that point, he employed the words of a conservative legal icon: US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
“For some, enforcing such rules may seem increasingly formal when the result is to prevent the appointment of an otherwise qualified candidate,” Rai said. “But formality, ‘as Justice Scalia observed,’ is the government that makes the government of laws and not men.”
When Scalia died in 2016, DeSantis was a member of Congress. He went to the floor of the House to recall the legal giant, saying “one of the all-time greats in American law”.
The court’s Friday decision injected the Supreme Court’s Judicial Nomination Commission, with the body tasked with preparing a slate of judges to elect the governor.
It is one of the most powerful panels in the state. It is chaired by prominent insurance lobbyist and GOP donor Fred Karlinski, and its members include Daniel Nordby, a former general manager of the government, Rick Scott, Jesse Panuccio, who served in the No. 3 position for the Scott administration and president. Donald Trump’s Justice Department.
The judicial wrote, “The JNC made decisions to nominate itself a constitutionally ineligible candidate, and it is responsible for the consequences of that decision.”
The court has given Descentis until noon to choose one of the seven other judges on the slate by the commission on Monday.
None of the remaining candidates are black.
The conservative jurist of Ascending appointed the governor’s legal defense as a knee-jerk, which led him to attempt a full-court press messaging from DeSantis and his allies, heightening the historical nature of putting someone with Francis legacy in the state’s highest court Wanted
“@GovRonDeSantis came out in support of women, immigrants and Black Florida residents such as Jamaican American Judge Renatha Francis, her choice for @FlCourts.” Tweeted Helen Aguirre, Executive director of the Florida GOP who was recently the director of communications for DeSantis on Wednesday.
“[Thompson] She said that one should be ashamed to run politics and the FL Supreme Court should deny the only black female justice.