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Irony Surrounds Supreme Court’s Decision on Judge Appointment

September 11th, 2020 by Mike Vasilinda

A unanimous Florida Supreme Court is ordering the Governor to name a new Supreme Court Justice by noon Monday.

The order comes after the court found he improperly named a justice who was constitutionally unqualified and the ensuing legal battle has been full of irony.

Throughout his campaign and once in office, Ron DeSantis railed against activist judges.

“I will only appoint judges who understand that the proper role of the court is to apply the constitution as written,” said DeSantis in January of 2019.

In July, the Governor said he was elevating Circuit Judge Renatha Francis to the state’s high court.

But there were two problems.

The constitutional deadline for making the appointment was March 23rd.

Second, on that day, Judge Francis was constitutionally ineligible because she had not been a member of the bar for 10 years.

She remains ineligible even now.

Another irony is that it was a black legislator who had pushed for an African Americans on the court, which has none, who filed the successful challenge to the only African American on the nominating list.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried calls that a problem.

“So we need to start reexamining the judicial nominating committee and making sure that we have people sitting on these committees, to begin with, that are more diverse,” said Fried.

Friday afternoon Democratic State Senator Perry Thurston called for the resignation of the nine member Judicial Nominating Commission that improperly nominated Judge Francis for the high court.

Geraldine Thompson, who brought the challenge, said the Governor got what he wanted.

Justices who followed the law and the constitution.

“The Governor says he is a textualist and he wants strict constructionism. Well, that’s what the Florida Supreme Court gave him with this case. Strict constructuralist,” said Thompson.

The Governor must now make an appointment from the remaining seven names on the list he was given in January.

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