Rodney Smith, a 1996 graduate of FAMU, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a federal judge for the Southern District of Florida which includes Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties last week. Smith previously had served as a state judge since in Miami since 2012. He was nominated to the federal bench by President Donald Trump in May 2018.
His background includes stints as an assistant state attorney in Miami-Dade County and an assistant city attorney for the city of Miami Beach. Smith is also a member of the Federalist Society, a nationwide group of conservative lawyers that seeks to interpret the law as written and plays a large role in Republican Supreme Court nominations.
Through his conservative ties Smith, became close with Sen. Marco Rubio. During his confirmation Democrats question Smith over his decision to impose a life sentence without parole for a juvenile in 2008 and for his Federalist Society activities. The Miami Times said Smith once described himself as “the skinny kid from Liberty City.”
Smith earned his law degree from Michigan State University.