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DeSantis Picks Judge Jamie Grosshans To Fill Supreme Court Vacancy

Judge Jamie Grosshans was picked by Governor Ron DeSantis as the newest Florida Supreme Court Justice September 14, 2020
Governor Ron DeSantis YouTube
Judge Jamie Grosshans was picked by Governor Ron DeSantis as the newest Florida Supreme Court Justice September 14, 2020

Governor Ron DeSantis has appointed an appeals court judge to fill a vacancy on the Florida Supreme Court.

After a legal push-and-pull over who would fill a vacancy on the Florida Supreme Court, DeSantis picked 5th District Court of Appeals judge Jamie Grosshans.

Justice Grosshans says she was honored to accept the nomination this year, marking the 100th anniversary of women securing the right to vote.

“I recognize that as I stand here, ready to join the Florida Supreme Court as the fifth woman, I stand on the shoulders of champions who have fought for equality and the right of women to lend their voices to leadership in this great state,” Grosshans said during a press conference in Tallahassee Monday.

When DeSantis took office, he said he would push to end “judicial activism.” Like DeSantis’ previous Supreme Court appointments, Grosshans said Monday she won’t legislate from the bench.

“You can trust that I will bring a fidelity to the law, and an unyielding respect for the separation of powers to my service on the court,” Grosshans told press. “This is the promise I make to Florida today.”

DeSantis had previously nominated South Florida circuit judge Ranatha Francis, who would have served as the first Caribbean-American justice on the state’s highest court and its only Black justice.

The governor had to go back to the drawing board after the court sided with state Representative Geraldine Thompson, who challenged the appointment based on a requirement Francis hadn’t met.

Supreme Court justices are required to have been a member of the Florida bar for 10 years – and Francis was just outside that threshold.

DeSantis told press Monday he’s spoken to President Donald Trump, in an effort to get Francis onto a federal bench in South Florida. Francis says she will be ready to take that position if called on:

“If I were to be selected to be nominated for this position and to go through a successful confirmation, I can promise you that I would faithfully adhere to the text of the constitution,” Francis said.

DeSantis missed a noon deadline Monday to make the appointment – and announced Grosshans as his pick at 5 p.m. at the court’s behest.

Grosshans fills the vacant seat on the Supreme Court that was held by Robert Luck, who was appointed to a federal appeals court by Trump. Another of DeSantis’ previous appointees, Barbara Lagoa, also was moved up to a federal appeals court, and was replaced by Justice John Couriel in June.

Copyright 2020 WFSU

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.