MIAMI – Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Miami, at which time he announced the appointments of Judge Renatha Francis and attorney John Couriel to the Florida Supreme Court.
Francis is currently a judge for the Florida 15th Circuit Court in Palm Beach County.
She previously served on the Florida 11th Circuit Court and the Miami-Dade County Court.
Francis, who was born in Jamaica, is the first American from the Caribbean to be appointed to Florida’s Supreme Court, the governor said.
“I’m incredibly honored and humbled by this appointment and the confidence you’ve shown in giving me this opportunity to serve the people of our great state of Florida,” Francis said. “From very humble beginnings, standing before you all today, I am truly the epitome of the American dream.”
Francis said she was raised by a single mother in Jamaica who never finished high school and who was the daughter of a farmer.
Despite her obstacles in life, Francis said her mother taught her and her sister “grit, determination and hard work.”
Couriel, meanwhile, is currently an attorney at Kobre & Kim law firm in Miami.
According to his bio on the firm’s website, Couriel “handles high-stakes cross-border disputes, with a particular focus on Latin America,” and also “conducts internal investigations and represents individuals and corporations in jurisdictions including Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.”
He previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
“I’m profoundly grateful today," Couriel said at Tuesday’s news conference. “I’m grateful for the trust that Gov. DeSantis has placed in me by inviting me to serve on the highest court of our state. You’ve heard it said that Alexander Hamilton said ‘Courts have neither force nor will, but merely judgment,’ and sometimes a good audience. Governor, my prayer today is that your judgement will have been good and that my judgement will not let you down.”
The governor has appointed five people to Florida’s Supreme Court since taking office, four of whom are from South Florida.