Rick Scott, Florida's governor the past eight years, called Lagoa a "fantastic choice" who has had a "stellar legal career". Justice Lagoa is the first Hispanic woman to serve on the Florida Supreme Court.
DeSantis announced the new justice at Miami's Freedom Tower, a location that resonates with political significance. "She understands the rule of law, how important that is to a society". 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.
"One of the recommendations that Congressman Mast has provided to me was that we really need a fresh start at the South Florida Water Management District and so today I have sent correspondence to all of the board members, thanking them for their service but requesting their resignation", said Gov. DeSantis.
Lagoa, now a judge on the 3rd District Court of Appeals that hears cases from Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, is a Cuban-American born in Miami and raised in Hialeah.
"Because of her family history, she understands that in Cuba the rule of law doesn't mean anything", DeSantis said.
"In the country my parents fled, the whim of a single individual could mean the difference between food or hunger, liberty or prison, life or death. In our great country and our great state we are governed by the rule of law", Lagoa said.
Justice Lagoa graduated from Florida International University with honors in 1989 and from Columbia University School of Law in 1992, where she served as an editor to the prestigious Columbia Law Review. "Unlike the country my parents fled, we are a nation of laws".
DeSantis said Lagoa is the first Hispanic woman appointed to the Supreme Court, but former Chief Justice Rosemary Barkett was born in Mexico to Syrian parents and spoke only Spanish until moving to the U.S. She worked at numerous prominent law firms in Miami, including Greenberg Traurig and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. I'm real excited about being able to put her on the court. She was also a member of the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission.
Stemberger praised Lagoa for her membership in the Federalist Society.
Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, said this: "I appreciated the governor's comments during his inauguration yesterday in which he stressed the proper role of the judiciary".
"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". "In the world of judicial appointments, Barbara Lagoa is a home run". I believe democracy is at its best when each branch of government exercises both authority and restraint at the appropriate time.
The new justice has served on the Court of Appeals since her 2006 appointment by Bush.
Maria D. Garcia, president of the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA), congratulated Lagoa in a letter after the Miami announcement.