JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG
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Monday, September 14, 2020
GOV. DESANTIS TO NAME (maybe) NEWEST FLA. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE .......
THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
GOVERNOR NAMES JUDGE JAMIE GROSSHANS
TAKE YOUR WRIT OF MANDAMUS AND SHOVE IT WHERE .....
Well, that’s not an exact quote from the esteemed Harvard educated, Trump-loving, Governor DeSantis, but it might as well have been.
The Florida Supreme Court has now officially entered their WRIT OF MANDAMUS ORDERING THE GOVERNOR TO MAKE THE APPOINTMENT BY FIVE PM. The ORDER can be found here.
FURTHER BREAKING NEWS:
At 5 PM today, Governor DeSantis will hold a press conference in Tallahassee where he is expected to name our next justice.
In November of 2019, Florida Supreme Court Justices Robert Luck and Barbara Lagoa both resigned and accepted appointments to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. In December of 2019. the Florida Supreme Court JNC, they of the "if you are not a member of the Federalist Society" don’t bother to apply group, interviewed 32 candidates for the two open seats on the Supreme Court of Florida. Those candidates included several "qualified" persons of color including our own Judge William Thomas and Judge Daryl Trawick of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida.
On January 23, 2020, the JNC sent nine names to the Governor, only one of which was someone of color, and that person, Judge Renatha Thomas, was NOT qualified to sit on the Supreme Court of Florida.
Under the Florida Constitution, the words state that the Governor shall appoint a judge from the nominating list within 60 days of receiving the names. Well, Ron "call me the textual" Governor DeSantis, ignored the text of the Constitution and blew the March 23, 2020 deadline.
Finally, more than two months after the March 23 constitutionally prescribed (in words actually written in the Florida Constitution) deadline, the Governor "appointed" two replacements, John Couriel and Renatha Francis.
Of course, at the time of her "appointment", on May 26, 2020, Judge Francis was NOT qualified to serve by virtue of her not being a member of the Florida Bar for at least ten years. This requirement also appears, in words actually written, in the Florida Constitution.
In stepped elected Democratic state Rep. Geraldine Thompson from Windermere who filed suit in the Florida Supreme Court asking them to rule that Francis cannot sit on the court because she was not "qualified". After a hiccup in that lawsuit when Thompson had to file an Amended Complaint, the High Court finally ruled in Thompson’s favor. Five justices stated (Couriel did not participate in the decision) in a unanimous opinion that:
"The constitution’s 10-year Bar membership requirement and 60-day appointment deadline are bright-line textual mandates that impose rules rather than standards and prioritize certainty over discretion," the justices wrote. They continued: "To some, enforcing rules like these might seem needlessly formalistic when the result is to preclude the appointment of an otherwise qualified candidate. But "formalism," as Justice Scalia observed, "is what makes a government a government of laws and not of men."
They ordered DeSantis to name a justice from the list of seven remaining nominees by NOON today. Well, guess what, the Governor blew that deadline too.
In a comedy sketch right out of Saturday Night Live, the Governor’s legal team attempted to defend the "appointment" of Francis, by arguing that she was not actually appointed on May 26th, but instead, the Governor was only making an "announcement". The Court mentioned that that argument was ludicrous and pointed to the Governor’s previous pleadings where they stated that she was "appointed" and even his Press Release which stated:
May 26, 2020 Press release from Governor DeSantis:
"Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Judge Renatha Francis to the Florida Supreme Court. Francis’ appointment fills the vacancy of former Florida Supreme Court Justice Robert Luck, who now serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit after being appointed by President Donald Trump."
So, what has the Governor done so far, instead of naming a replacement for Judge Luck.
DeSantis took his show to the road, and last Wednesday, in Miramar, he stood on the stage with several elected black mayors (all Democrats) and excoriated the Florida Supreme Court for denying the citizens of Florida the chance for him to make history by appointing a Jamaican black female to the high court. In what can only be described as out of this world, Judge/Justice/Judge Francis not only appeared on the stage, but she spoke at the rally. (There must be a few Judicial Canons against that activity).
YOUR NEWEST FLORIDA SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, MAY OR MAY NOT BE NAMED AT SOME POINT TODAY .....
..... From the list of seven nominees remaining.
The remaining nominees are:
Judge Jonathan Gerber (Fourth District Court of Appeal)
Judge Jamie Grosshans (Fifth District Court of Appeal)
Judge Norma Lindsey (Third District Court of Appeal)
Judge Timothy Osterhaus (First District Court of Appeal)
Eliot Pedrosa (executive director, InterAmerican Development Bank)
Judge Lori Rowe (First District Court of Appeal)
Judge Meredith Sasso (Fifth District Court of Appeal)
CAPTAIN OUT .......