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Florida Record

DeSantis picks appeals court Judge Lagoa for Supreme Court; New justice praised as 'textualist'

By Ann Maher | Jan 9, 2019

General Court

Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis has picked Florida Third District Court of Appeals Judge Barbara Lagoa to serve on the state Supreme Court.

Lagoa was the first Cuban American woman to serve on the Court, having been appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush in June 2006 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge David Levy. 

Her selection was lauded by Florida Justice Reform Institute president William Large, who said the appointment goes towards the governor's promise to appoint judges "who will interpret the law and not legislate from the bench."

"The Florida Justice Reform Institute has long called for judges who are textualists -- who will say what the law is, and not what they think it should be -- and who show deference to the legislature as the rightful policy making branch of government," Large stated.

"Justice Lagoa brings these exact qualities and an impressive record to the Court at a critical time. The Florida Justice Reform Institute applauds Governor DeSantis' on his wise and thoughtful choice that will have a profoundly positive impact on Florida for a long time."


According to Lagoa's court profile, while a practicing lawyer, she was admitted to practice by the Florida Bar, the U.S. District Courts for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. 

Prior to joining the bench, Lagoa practiced in both the civil and criminal arenas. Her civil practice focused on general and complex commercial litigation, particularly the areas of employment discrimination, business torts, securities litigation, construction litigation, and insurance coverage disputes. 

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. There, she tried numerous criminal jury trials, including drug conspiracies and Hobbs Act violations. She also handled a significant number of appeals.

She received received her juris doctor from Columbia University in 1992, where she served as an associate editor of the Columbia Law Review. 

Lagoa is fluent in English and Spanish. She is married to Paul C. Huck, Jr., an attorney. They have three children.