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DeSantis appoints Judge Renatha Francis to Florida Supreme Court

Francis will become the first Jamaican American to serve on the state's highest court when she takes her seat on Sept. 1.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — With an official appointment from Gov. Ron DeSantis, Judge Renatha Francis is set to become the next Florida Supreme Court Justice.

The governor made the announcement on Friday in Palm Beach County, where Francis currently serves as a judge on the 15th Circuit Court.

“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.

Francis will replace Justice Alan Lawson, who officially retired on Aug. 1 after serving on the court for six years. She'll officially take her seat on the state's highest court on Sept. 1, according to a press release from the governor's office.

“I was and remain in awe of the United States – its constitution, its freedoms, its respect for the rule of law," she said. "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."

If Francis' name sounds familiar, it's because DeSantis first attempted to appoint her to the Supreme Court in 2020. That appointment was voided because, at the time, she had not been a member of the Florida Bar for 10 years as required.

Francis spoke about her upbringing in Jamaica, where she was raised by a single mother who, despite not finishing high school, had an incredible work ethic and resilience. She started several businesses that Francis later inherited before going on to double major in International Relations and Political Science at the University of the West Indies.

The judge explained that she did all of this while serving as a surrogate mother to her younger sister. 

After graduating from Florida Coastal Law School in Jacksonville, Francis went to work at the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, according to a biography from the Palm Beach County Bar Association.

In 2017, then-Gov. Rick Scott appointed her as a Miami-Dade County Court judge and, a year later, elevated her to the Miami-Dade Circuit bench. Francis was later appointed to the Palm Beach County bench by DeSantis in 2019.

She and her husband Phillip are the parents of two sons. When Francis takes her Supreme Court seat in September, she'll become the first Jamaican American to serve on the state's highest court.

You can watch the full announcement below.

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