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Gov. DeSantis appoints Renatha Francis to the Florida Supreme Court

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'I think this appointment of Judge Francis will really invigorate and fortify our judiciary in a very positive way, but also send a great message that you can realize your dreams'

Justice Renatha Francis

Justice Renatha Francis

Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed Judge Renatha Francis to the Florida Supreme Court.

With her mother, husband, and two young children by her side, Francis said she was humbled by the appointment and eager to serve.

“When I embarked on my career in the law, I never imagined it would bring me here, standing in front of you. . . today,” Francis said. “So, I’m not only grateful, I’m humbled that I get to be a part of this great American experiment and to serve at the highest level of our state judiciary.”

Francis, of West Palm Beach, comes to the Supreme Court after having served as a judge on the 15th Circuit bench since 2019 and previously as a judge at the Miami-Dade County court from 2017-2019.

In making the announcement August 5 at the Richard & Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum, DeSantis said Francis, an immigrant from Jamacia, has an incredible life story that “epitomizes the American Dream and proves that those who come to our country have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and, through hard work and the application of their God-given talents, reach the highest heights of whatever field they choose.”

Francis’ appointment fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Al Lawson. Francis will officially take her seat on the Supreme Court September 1.

This is Francis’ second appointment to the Supreme Court. DeSantis appointed her to an opening in 2020, but it was ultimately determined she did not meet the qualifications to become a justice because at the time of her nomination, she fell just shy of the 10 years of Florida Bar membership required to become a justice.

“I may be taking my seat on the bench two years later than anticipated, but as a student of history I continue to be in awe of this country’s respect for the rule of law and the freedoms guaranteed in the text of the United States Constitution,” Francis said. “As a Supreme Court justice, I will apply the law as written by the people’s duly-elected representatives, knowing that I am a member of the judiciary in a system with separation of powers.”

DeSantis said Francis understands what the proper role of a judge is and will be an inspiration to many Floridians, especially young people.

“I think this appointment of Judge Francis will really invigorate and fortify our judiciary in a very positive way, but also send a great message that you can realize your dreams,” DeSantis said.

Before immigrating from the Caribbean to Florida, Francis was a small business owner operating a bar and trucking company while she attended college full time in her native Jamaica while also being the primary caregiver for her younger sibling.

“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.”

Francis has also served as an attorney for the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee from 2011-2017. Francis received her bachelor’s degree from the University of The West Indies and her Juris Doctorate from Florida Coastal Law School.

“I know I’ve said this before on prior occasions, but I’ll say it again,” Francis said. “I am the epitome of the American dream.”

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