Florida Supreme Court Will Remain All-White
October 2nd, 2020
Florida is one of the most diverse states in the country: only 53% of its population are white and non-Hispanic. In some ways, its supreme court reflects this diversity: at least three of its seven justices are Hispanic, and a former Hispanic Florida Supreme Court Justice, Barbara Lagoa, was on President Trump’s short list to fill the United States Supreme Court seat of the late Justice Ginsburg. But although Florida is 17% Black, there are no Black Justices on the state supreme court.
Governor Ron DeSantis (R) thought he had remedied this problem when he appointed Judge Renatha Francis in May of this year. But months later, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that Judge Francis did not possess the required qualifications to fill the seat, and DeSantis withdrew the nomination. In her place, he nominated Judge Jamie Grosshans, who now sits on the court. Although Judge Grosshans is white, she does add some diversity–she is currently the only female justice on the seven-member court.
Florida is not alone with the problem of racial diversity on the courts: according to a February 2020 report, approximately 40% of the United States population is comprised of people of color, but fewer than 16% of state supreme court seats are held by people of color.
Meanwhile Florida also as a judicial election this year–voters will decide whether to retain Justice Carlos Muniz, who took office last year. Justice Muniz has good odds of surviving the retention vote; no judge or justice has ever failed to win retention since Florida implemented the system in 1976. You can decide for yourself if you want to vote to retain Justice Muniz by taking our quiz for the state of Florida–a positive score indicates that you would prefer to retain the Justice; a negative score indicates that you would prefer to vote him out of office.