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Gov. Ron DeSantis selects Central Florida judge as new Supreme Court pick by court-ordered deadline

Governor nominates Judge Jamie Grosshans to Supreme Court

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attends an event with President Donald Trump on the environment at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attends an event with President Donald Trump on the environment at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis has nominated Judge Jamie Grosshans to the Florida Supreme Court after the judge he initially picked to fill a high court vacancy was declared constitutionally ineligible to serve by the state Supreme Court.

DeSantis announced he had nominated Grosshans, of the 5th District Court of Appeal, at 5 p.m., the same time as a court-ordered deadline imposed by the Florida Supreme Court after the governor missed the first deadline. The 5th District includes Lake, Marion and Sumter counties.

In a ruling on Friday, the Florida Supreme Court ordered DeSantis to appoint another judge by Monday, nullifying the appointment of Judge Renatha Francis, but after DeSantis did not make another appointment by noon, the high court issued a writ of mandamus ordering him to do so by 5 p.m.

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On Friday, the court ordered the governor "immediately to appoint and commission a constitutionally eligible nominee from among the seven remaining candidates already certified by the judicial nominating commission.”

At 3 p.m. Monday, the justices issued a writ of mandamus, writing, “trusting that the Governor would fully comply with the order, and consistent with our traditional practice, the Court withheld issuance of the writ of mandamus. The deadline has now passed. It appearing that the Governor has yet to comply, we hereby issue the writ of mandamus and order the Governor immediately to comply with the Court’s order of September 11 and to certify his compliance to the Court by 5:00 p.m. today.”

DeSantis said Francis withdrew her nomination on Friday after the Florida Supreme Court ruling.

During a news conference after 5 p.m. DeSantis said he called President Donald Trump and asked him to consider Francis to become a federal judge for the southern district of Florida. According to DeSantis, Trump is considering it.

The state constitution requires that a justice be a member of the Florida Bar for at least 10 years, and Francis was four months shy when DeSantis appointed her in May. DeSantis acknowledged the shortfall at the time, but said she wouldn’t be sworn in until Sept. 24, the day she would meet the requirement.

The Supreme Court said that DeSantis was required to name a constitutionally eligible new justice within 60 days of the resignation of former Justice Robert Luck.

Grosshans was appointed to the Fifth District Court of Appeal in 2018 by then-Gov. Rick Scott. She previously served in the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida in Orange County, where she presided over criminal and civil matters.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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