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Gov. DeSantis nominates new Florida Supreme Court judge after first ruled ineligible

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday named Jamie Grosshans, a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal, to the Florida Supreme Court.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday named Jamie Grosshans, a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal, to the Florida Supreme Court. (Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday named Jamie Grosshans, a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal, to the Florida Supreme Court.

Grosshans has served on the Central Florida appellate court since 2018 and previously was an Orange County judge.

DeSantis announced the appointment after the Supreme Court rejected his earlier pick of Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Renatha Francis because she did not meet a constitutional requirement of being a member of The Florida Bar for 10 years.

DeSantis missed a noon request to appoint a justice to the Florida Supreme Court Court.

The court then issued a new order just before three, giving the Governor until 5 p.m. Monday to make the appointment. He announced Grosshans just after 5 p.m.

At 11:38 a.m., an email titled the ‘Governor’s Daily Digest’ promised an announcement about the future of the Supreme Court.

The Governor’s lawyers previously told the court there was not enough time to vet the remaining candidates by the noon deadline.

Representative Geraldine Thompson said that was inexcusable.

“Those individuals were vetted back in January and between January and May, he had an opportunity to look at all of them,” said Thompson.

And of missing the deadline, Thompson had this to say, “He is just lawless and doesn’t feel that rules apply to him. He feels he doesn’t have to follow the constitution and its very distressing, very troubling.”

For only the second time since 1975, Florida’s high court is without a Black judge on the bench.

Francis was scheduled to fill the vacancy later this month when she hit her 10th anniversary as a member of the Florida Bar, but the court ruled Friday she was ineligible when her name was put on the nominating list.

Gov. DeSantis said after Francis withdrew her name following the ruling, he called President Donald Trump and asked him to make Francis a federal judge in Florida.

“I told him that we have a great judge down here in Florida who was going to be on the Supreme Court. And while that didn’t work out, I think she would make a great federal judge in the Southern District of Florida and so the President was very receptive to that all I can say is that that is actively under consideration,” DeSantis said.

Francis said she is open to the federal position.

“Sometimes life doesn’t work out the way we planned, but who am I to complain, you know. I’ve been so incredibly blessed in this life,” Francis said.


About the Authors:

Senior reporter, News Service of Florida