Grosshans, from the
This was the second time in Grosshans' meteoric rise as a judge that she became a finalist for the state's highest court. She first applied in
Both times Grosshans applied to the state's high court, she left out some details on her application: specifically her membership in the Alliance Defending Freedom, her work as a
The Alliance Defending Freedom is a national organization that, according to its website, "exists to keep the doors open for the Gospel by advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, freedom of speech, and marriage and family."
It trains lawyers and funds cases on abortion, religion, tuition tax credits, and LGBTQ issues. Notably, the group represented the petitioner in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case where a
Its website declares: "Marriage has always been a union between one man and one woman," and, "Opponents of marriage will not stop at removing the foundation of civilization."
Grosshans' background and affiliation with the Christian-based organizations may not have been spelled out on her application, but were no surprise to the legal community that promoted her, said
Omissions from applications
Grosshans was first appointed to be a county judge by then-Gov.
Grosshans, 41, landed on the shortlist for DeSantis twice, but was passed over last year and again this year when he named
According to both applications obtained by the Herald/
When the JNC application asked Grosshans to "list all Bar associations and professional societies of which you are a member," Grosshans did not list the Alliance or the Blackstone Legal Fellowship program in her answer.
But on the web page of her law firm in 2017,
The application also asked: "Do you now or have you ever belonged to any club or organization that in practice or policy restricts (or restricted during the time of your membership) its membership on the basis of race, religion, national origin or sex?"
She did not mention the ADF but only said: "I am a member of the
The church's website reads: "We encourage lifelong commitments to marriage between one man and one woman; we support the ongoing spiritual nurture of the family; and, we are committed to honoring the priority of family time through our ministries and activities. (Matthew 19:5-6; Ephesians 5:22-6:4)"
Ties to Christian legal groups
According to the ADF's promotional material, the national organization's mission is "to keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel by transforming the legal system."
The group's federal 990 tax form says: "The Blackstone Legal Fellowship equips these students to adhere to the practice of their faith in the legal profession, an arena often hostile to Christianity."
It has also stated that the goal of the program is "to train a new generation of lawyers who will rise to positions of influence and leadership as legal scholars, litigators, judges -- perhaps even Supreme Court Justices -- who will work to ensure that justice is carried out in America's courtrooms." ADF conceals the names of its fellows.
Grosshans and her husband also performed legal work as an "allied attorney" for ADF's Operation Outcry in
According to a since-deleted, but cached page from the Alliance Defending Freedom's website, one of the ADF's cited success stories from
According to its website,"Operation Outcry is a ministry of
Reached at his
God works 'through us'
According to her application, Grosshans serves on the board of directors for the
In 2016, she wrote an article for
"As attorneys, it's easy to feel like we are not on the mission field in the traditional sense," Grosshans wrote in the magazine. "But we have a unique calling. The mission field comes to us. The mission field hires us. As the Apostle Paul encourages, 'We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.' "
Politics and precedent
Given Grosshans' strong personal views and history of opposing abortion, can she be impartial?
Salmon had a case in which she was prosecuting four police officers for providing false statements during the course of an investigation, and Grosshans was the presiding judge.
"She had a mastery of the case facts. She clearly had reviewed the case files. She was well versed in the law. She had a handle on the evidence code and she clearly had done her homework," Salmon said, noting they got one conviction, one plea and one diversion out of the four. Grosshans "was impartial with every decision."
"It's no secret
Other organizations were not as bullish about the new justice.
Included in those principles, Smith noted, is Section 23 of the Florida Constitution, the "right of privacy," which allows for freedom from governmental intrusion into one's private life.
Large, of the
"It's interesting that her attributes seem so different than what Thompson has been advocating for all these years," Large said.
Thompson said she has never met Grosshans and was not aware she had worked with Stemberger, the
As for ushering in a conservative court, Thompson said she was resigned to the fact that no matter who DeSantis picked it would yield this result.
"Clearly there is an agenda to reshape the judiciary," she said. "So you have people with these conservative views, and some very regressive views, with regard to the rights of women."
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