Francis is part of DeSantis’ radical remake of the Florida Supreme Court into a more conservative institution. He has appointed four of the seven High Court justices and they will decide key cases, including whether to uphold Florida’s new law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. .
At a Palm Beach County press conference where he announced the nomination, DeSantis said ‘politics’ scuttled Francis’ last nomination to the Florida Supreme Court, which was overturned because at the time Francis had not been a member of the Florida bar for 10 years, a requirement in the state constitution.
“We asked someone to take legal action to try and stop her from appearing because they said she couldn’t be nominated until she hit the 10 mark. years,” DeSantis said during Friday’s press conference. “It was disappointing…it was all politics, it was nothing principled.”
State Representative Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando) filed a lawsuit at the time asking the High Court to strike down the 2020 nomination because she did not meet the requirements. In a unanimous decision, the court found that “the governor failed to obey the clear orders of the Constitution.” The ruling was written by DeSantis-appointed Judge Carlos Muñiz.
Thompson told POLITICO on Friday that she still does not support Francis’ nomination and believes DeSantis is politicizing the judiciary.
“Floridians lack confidence in the courts because they see people being appointed based on a political agenda rather than knowledge of the law and ability,” she said. “It’s annoying.”
During her interview with the Florida Supreme Court’s Judicial Appointments Commissioner in June, Jesse Panuccio, an attorney who served as a top Justice Department official under former President Donald Trump, lambasted “credentialists” for having blocked Francis’ latest nomination.
“I thought it was a shame,” Panuccio said during the interview. “I’m sorry this happened.”
At Friday’s press conference, Francis said that being an immigrant gives her a greater appreciation for the United States.
“I stand before you the epitome of the American dream,” said Francis, whose mother didn’t finish high school. “My beginnings are humble.
She said enforcing the laws “as written” is the foundation of her judicial philosophy and “essential to the preservation of liberty”.