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DeSantis appoints Palm Beach judge Renatha Francis to the Florida Supreme Court

Renatha Francis at the podium speaking, accompanied by DeSantis and family members
Gov. Ron DeSantis
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed Palm Beach County Judge Renatha Francis to the Florida Supreme Court.

She will become the only Black justice on the court — and the first Caribbean-American to serve.

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

The Republican governor announced Francis’ appointment to the conservative-controlled Supreme Court at a news conference in West Palm Beach on Friday.

The Jamaican-born Francis will become the only Black justice on the court — and the first Caribbean-American to serve.

"Judge Renatha Francis 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,” DeSantis said in a statement.

“Before immigrating from the Caribbean to Florida, Renatha Francis was a small business owner in her native country Jamaica where she ran two successful enterprises while 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.

"When she takes her place on the Florida Supreme Court," DeSantis said, "I am confident she will serve our state with distinction.”

DeSantis tried to appoint Francis to the court in 2020 but her appointment was nullified by the Florida Supreme Court under a provision of the state constitution requiring justices to be members of the Florida Bar for at least 10 years.

“I’m incredibly honored and humbled by Governor DeSantis’ unwavering support for my ascension to the Florida Supreme Court,” Francis said in a statement. “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.

"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.”

Francis is scheduled to join the court on Sept. 1, replacing retiring Justice Alan Lawson.

At the time of her previous appointment, Francis was four months shy of the 10-year requirement.