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Florida Supreme Court Rules Against DeSantis On Judicial Appointment

Ron DeSantis
Lynne Sladky/AP
Gov. Ron DeSantis holds up a document pertaining to COVID-19 during a news conference in Miami on July 7th.

Saying Gov. Ron DeSantis “has not complied with the Constitution’s clear commands,” the Florida Supreme Court on Friday rejected DeSantis’ appointment of Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Renatha Francis to the Supreme Court.

Justices unanimously ordered DeSantis to appoint another candidate from a list of nominees offered early this year by the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission.

DeSantis named Francis to the court in May, but she did not meet a constitutional requirement of being a member of the Florida Bar for 10 years.

Friday’s ruling was a victory for state Rep. Geraldine Thompson, a Windermere Democrat who challenged the appointment.

The court has given DeSantis until Monday at noon to make a different selection from the other seven nominees.

From the Florida Supreme Court Ruling:

We hold that the constitution requires the Governor immediately to appoint and commission a constitutionally eligible nominee from among the seven remaining candidates already certified by the judicial nominating commission.

We reject the Governor’s suggestion that this remedy somehow intrudes on the judicial nominating commission’s constitutional prerogatives by “taking a red pen” to the JNC’s certified list. The JNC itself made the decision to nominate a constitutionally ineligible candidate, and it is responsible for the consequences of that decision.

The Governor must fully comply with this order no later than noon on Monday, September 14, 2020.

No motion for rehearing or clarification will be entertained by this Court.

This story will be updated later.

Gina Jordan is the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. Follow Gina: @hearyourthought on Twitter. Click below for Gina's full bio.