Tallahassee, Fla. – On May 26 in Miami, Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Judge Renatha Francis and John Couriel to the Florida Supreme Court. Judge Francis’ appointment fills the vacancy of former Florida Supreme Court Justice Robert Luck and Mr. Couriel’s appointment fills the vacancy of former Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Lagoa. Francis will officially take her seat on the Supreme Court on September 24, 2020.

Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez said, “The appointments of Renatha Francis and John Couriel to the highest court in our state are historic. Francis, the first Jamaican-American appointed to the Florida Supreme Court and Couriel, the son of Cuban immigrants, will be an extraordinary addition to our judicial system with their dedication to fairness and the rule of law.”

Senate President Bill Galvano said, “Justice Francis and Justice Couriel come to the bench with inspiring life stories that reflect a deep pride for the constitutional freedoms we cherish. I am confident both will respect the separation of powers and the limited role of the Judiciary contemplated in our Constitution. I congratulate Governor DeSantis on making these significant appointments in the midst of such a challenging time for our state. Generations of Floridians will be well-served by the Governor’s commitment to ensuring Florida’s judges and justices reflect the diversity of our great state.”

House Speaker José Oliva said, “These appointments to the Florida Supreme Court again demonstrate that America is a place of endless opportunity. I know that the new justices will remember and practice fidelity to the Constitution and the principle of judicial restraint as they exercise their duties. I congratulate them and their families on this momentous day and wish them both the best.”

Governor Jeb Bush said, “John Couriel is a brilliant conservative lawyer who will be a great Supreme Court justice.”

Florida House Representative Bruce Antone said, “I applaud Governor DeSantis’ appointment of Judge Renatha Francis to the Florida Supreme Court. Judge Renatha Francis is highly qualified to serve on the Florida Supreme Court, and she brings diversity and diversity of experiences to the Florida Supreme Court.”

Mayor Dale V. C. Holness, Board of Broward County Commissioners said, “I could not be more elated by Governor Ron DeSantis’ decision to appoint Judge Renatha S. Francis to the Florida Supreme Court. Judge Francis is a highly regarded circuit court judge who has demonstrated strong work ethic, intellect and integrity which is recognized by the legal, civic and business community of Florida. As a first-generation Jamaican immigrant, Judge Francis bears the distinction of being only the second black female, in the history of Miami Dade County, to be appointed to the circuit court bench.  Judge Francis will add a desired balance to the court from the perspective of race, ethnicity and gender and her service to the Florida Supreme Court will be of great benefit for all the residents of our state.”

Samantha Parchment, President, Jamaican-American Bar Association said, “The Jamaican-American Bar Association is delighted to celebrate the elevation of Judge Renatha Francis, to serve as Justice on the Supreme Court of the State of Florida. We are extremely proud of Judge Francis, as one of our most distinguished Jamaican-American Bar colleagues. Imbued with exceptional work ethic, the particular strengths of Judge Francis are her dignified deportment, respect for the rule of law and commitment to community service. This appointment by Governor Ron DeSantis is a vocal testimony to his commitment to inclusivity and equal justice for all.”

United States Senator Tom Cotton said, “I’ve known John Couriel for more than twenty years. He’s a fine lawyer and an even better man, and he will make an outstanding justice. I commend Governor DeSantis for an excellent appointment.”

U.S. Eleventh Circuit of Appeals Judge Robert Luck said, “I have known Justice Couriel for twenty-five years. He’s a brilliant lawyer and an even better father, husband, son and friend. Justice Couriel has a passion for serving our state, and at the end of his long career on the bench, he will be one of our finest justices.”

Tricia-Gaye Cotterell, President, Caribbean Bar Association said, “The Caribbean Bar Association thanks Governor DeSantis for his historic appointment of Jamaican-born Judge Renatha S. Francis to the Florida Supreme Court. His appointment bears witness to Judge Francis as an authentic example of fairness and integrity par excellence. The grounding and ethical acculturation of her Caribbean roots have propelled her ascension through the ranks to the heights of legal professionalism. Her appointment is one more reason to celebrate the contributions that Caribbean-Americans have seamlessly interwoven into the tapestry of American life. Today, Caribbean-Americans are beaming with pride…we wish her Godspeed!”

Francesse Lucius, President, Haitian Lawyers Association said, “We are thrilled about the historic appointment of Judge Renatha Francis to the Florida Supreme Court. Judge Francis is a highly regarded jurist, and she is the first Jamaican-American woman and second black woman Justice to be on the bench of Florida’s highest court. For many of us Caribbean immigrants, her story is a true inspiration as she embodies the ideals of the legal profession and is a testament to the American dream.”

Brendalyn Edwards, President, Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association said, “Governor DeSantis’ recent appointments send a clear signal that diversity and representation on the bench need not be sacrificed in appointing well-qualified candidates. As one of many organizations long advocating for a diverse judiciary that represents the community it serves, the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association celebrates the most recent appointment of Judge Renatha Francis to the Florida Supreme Court. Judge Francis will be the second black woman and the first Jamaican-American to serve on the state’s highest court. Her advancement from her humble beginnings is an inspiration and a testament to perseverance.”

Frances De La Guardia, President, Cuban American Bar Association said, “John Couriel is a great scholar and lawyer. His reputation proceeds him. As a part of its mission, CABA consistently promotes diversity on the bench and we enthusiastically support John Couriel’s appointment to the Florida Supreme Court.”



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