In November, Florida voters kicked out a judge who issued a controversial ruling denying an abortion to a 17-year-old girl because she had C-average grades in school.
Now, state Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed him to an even higher court, the Sixth District Court of Appeals.
In January, Judge Jared Smith ruled that the unnamed teen couldn’t get an abortion because he doubted her “overall intelligence.” Florida law requires minors to get parental consent before getting an abortion, and the teen sought an exemption for that requirement.
“(While) she claimed that her grades were ‘Bs’ during her testimony,” Smith wrote in his ruling, “her GPA is currently 2.0. Clearly, a ‘B’ average would not equate to a 2.0 GPA.”
He denied her request, and an appeals court later overturned his ruling, finding that he abused his judicial discretion. In response to his ruling, several local conservatives retracted their endorsements of him. Then, in June, local voters kicked him off of the bench, preferring lawyer Nancy Jacobs by a 3.7-point margin.
However, DeSantis just appointed him to the Sixth District Court of Appeals. Now, he and eight other judges will hear appeals cases from several central Florida counties.
Smith and three other candidates for the court had their appointments challenged because they don’t live in the 6th District’s jurisdiction. However, Florida’s Supreme Court ruled last week that a residency requirement “attaches at the time of appointment,” meaning that judges can simply relocate to be in the jurisdiction whenever DeSantis appoints them.
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