Miami’s Barbara Lagoa is the next Florida Supreme Court justice


- Gov. Ron DeSantis has chosen a female Cuban-American appellate judge as his first pick for the Florida Supreme Court. "It is the role of judges to apply, not to alter, the work of the people's representatives", Lagoa said. "And it is the role of judges to interpret our Constitution and statutes as they are written". "Unlike the country my parents fled, we are a nation of laws, not of men".

The newspaper noted DeSantis, who took office on Tuesday, flew from Tallahassee to Miami on Wednesday on an upgraded King Air aircraft.

"Obviously, this is focused on what we're going to do as a state", said DeSantis. In June 2006 Gov. Jeb Bush appointed her to fill the Third DCA vacancy created by the retirement of Judge David Levy.

DeSantis' replacements for the three justices who were required to retire this week - R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince - will reshape a court that for years has been a thorn in the side to the Republican-dominated Legislature and former Gov. Rick Scott. "And so her backdrop understanding that I think has really made her appreciate the importance of the rule of law". He promised to appoint state state Supreme Court justices in the mold of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

"So, all and all, I think what we've done is really, really strong", DeSantis concluded before signing the order. "So while this is a chance to change traditional representation in Florida's Supreme Court, it's also a major ideological shift".

Florida Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson from Jacksonville said she's concerned with the lack of details in DeSantis' new directive. I share the governor's concern that in recent years the power of the judicial branch has extended beyond its limited constitutional responsibility, in many cases eroding the authority of the legislative branch.

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"His order calls for the securing of $2.5 billion over the next four years to invest in Everglades restoration and protecting our water resources, but there is no identification of where that money will come from", said Sen. "In the world of judicial appointments, Barbara Lagoa is a home run". From 1962 to 1974, it was a processing center for Cuban refugees seeking political asylum from Fidel Castro's regime.

In her remarks, Lagoa, accompanied by her parents, husband and three daughters, left little doubt that she will fulfill DeSantis' expectations.

In 2003, she joined the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida as an assistant, where she worked in the civil, major crimes and appellate sections. While a practicing lawyer, she was admitted to practice by the Florida Bar, the United States District Courts for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

She received received her juris doctor from Columbia University in 1992, where she served as an associate editor of the Columbia Law Review. Former Justice Rosemary Barkett was born in Mexico, but because her parents were of Syrian descent, she has credited former justice Raoul Cantero with being Florida's first justice of Hispanic descent.

Maria D. Garcia, president of the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA), congratulated Lagoa in a letter after the Miami announcement.