TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Newly-elected Gov. Ron DeSantis has selected Judge Barbara Lagoa as a Supreme Court pick on Wednesday during an announcement.
- Read Judge Barbara Lagoa's application to Supreme Court
- 3 vacancies in the state's Supreme Court
Just a day into his new job, DeSantis is already making moves.
He traveled to Miami on Wednesday, where he announced his very first appointment to the Florida Supreme Court at the Freedom Tower.
"I thought it was really, really important for Florida that we have good, strong justices to be on the Supreme Court. I'm happy to report today that we have found one of those individuals to serve. And so, today it is going to be my honor and privilege to announce that I am going to appoint Judge Barbara Lagoa to the Supreme Court," he said as people applauded.
Lagoa, a Miami native, is an appeals court judge and she become the first Cuban-American female on the high court.
Calling the appointment an "honor," Lagoa spoke about her family history and how her parents 50 years ago came to America from Cuba "in a land that offered opportunity, but more importantly, freedom."
Lagoa echoed DeSantis' view that the Florida Supreme Court is tasked with the protection of the people's liberty and the court does not make the law, she declared, and it is the role of the justices to interpret the laws as they are written.
It was rumored that John David Couriel was another prospect. He emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba through Operation Pedro Pan and he is a Harvard graduate and lawyer who ran unsuccessfully for the Florida legislature.
Notably, both Lagoa and Couriel have conservative records, and since DeSantis choose Lagoa, that could tip the ideological balance of the State Supreme Court for the first time in the modern era in favor of Republicans.
However, there are three vacancies in the Supreme Court that DeSantis needs to fill.
DeSantis will get a chance to remake the seven-member Supreme Court as three left-leaning justices will be required by law to retire this week.
DeSantis said he has already interviewed all 11 finalists selected by a state nominating commission.
Spectrum News' Troy Kinsey and Anthony Leone and the Associated Press contributed to this story.