|Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis must pick a new Supreme Court justice because the judge he picked to fill a high court vacancy is constitutionally ineligible to serve, the court said in an order issued Friday.
The Florida Supreme Court ordered DeSantis to appoint another judge by Monday, nullifying the appointment of Judge Renatha Francis. Francis would have been the first Caribbean-American justice to serve on the court.
But 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. At the time DeSantis acknowledged the shortfall, 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 new justice within 60 days of the resignation of former Justice Robert Luck.
Her appointment was challenged by Democratic state Rep. Geraldine Thompson, a prominent Black state lawmaker.