Gov. DeSantis Picks Barbara Lagoa To FL Supreme Court

It might just be my perception or wishful thinking, but it appears to me that people are more interested than ever before in the judicial process. With high-profile vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court in recent years, along with many high profile decisions that impact every American, there’s a seeming growing interest in learning more. Previously, I saw greater curiosity in learning more about local and state judges up for election last fall. There has also been a concern in Florida’s three Supreme Court vacancies to be filled ever since the recounts ended. 

It’s great to see the spike in curiosity because all elections have consequences, and few are more profound than those that lead to these decisions. There’s a reasonable chance that however long DeSantis serves as governor, 4 or even 8 years, his greatest legacy will be these three decisions right now. Barbara Lagoa is the Governor’s first pick so what do we know about her? First, here’s a bit about her personal background. Judge Lagoa is a Cuban-American born and raised in Miami. She graduated from FIU and Columbia University. Lagoa is married and mother of three and serves on the boards of the YWCA of Greater Miami, Kristi House, and the Miami film society.

Judge Lagoa's professional background includes:

  • Associate editor of the Columbia law review 
  • South Florida based attorney with a focus on criminal and civil law with interest in business litigation 
  • U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida 
  • Justice on the Third District Court of Appeals (appointed by Jeb Bush) 
  • Recommended by 86% of the members of the Florida Bar 
  • Retained by voters with 74% of the vote most recently 

Of course, people want to know about ideological considerations. By general accounts, she’s labeled a conservative. Professionally, she’s most known for serving pro-bono as counsel for the American family of Elian Gonzalez. Lagoa also authored the majority opinion determining that damages for medical malpractice should be based on one’s pre-diagnosis life expectancy rather than one’s post malpractice life expectancy.

Based on what I’ve reviewed of her record, it’s probably not fair to attempt to label her through traditional left-right political terms. She seems to be a libertarian-ish pragmatist. That means that it seems as though she places priority on the individual over the collective and isn’t inclined to deviate from established legal precedent rather than a tendency towards activism.

Photo by: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

 
Brian Mudd

Brian Mudd

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