ORLANDO, Fla. — Democratic State Representative Geraldine Thompson of Orlando is suing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, arguing in a lawsuit that the governor’s pick to the Supreme Court is not qualified.
The lawsuit contends the Judicial Qualifying Commission should have never considered Renatha Francis because she has not been a member of the Florida Bar for 10 years, as required.
Francis will not reach the 10-year mark of being a member of the Florida Bar until September 24.
The Florida Supreme Court is giving all parties involved until August 3 to respond to the suit, which was filed Monday.
DeSantis announced May 26 he was appointing Francis and Miami lawyer John Couriel to the state’s top court, replacing justices Robert Luck and Barbara Lagoa.
President Donald Trump last year appointed Luck and Lagoa to serve on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
The governor’s May appointments of Couriel and Francis came well beyond the 60-day deadline state law mandates for a governor to make a pick once provided a list by the Judicial Nominating Commission. Leading up to the announcement, the governor blamed the state’s emergency dealing with coronavirus as his reasoning for not meeting the deadline.
In revealing Francis as a pick to the state supreme court, DeSantis applauded her work as a Palm Beach County judge. Born in Jamaica, Francis would also be the only woman on the bench and the first black justice appointed by DeSantis since the retirement of Justice Peggy Quince.