President Donald J. Trump announced Thursday afternoon his intention to nominate two of Florida's newest Supreme Court justices, Barbara Lagoa and Robert Luck, to serve as circuit judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. In so doing, the president likely will reshape the ideological bent of the 11th Circuit.
The president issued the announcement without comment, in a public-pool release from the Office of the Press Secretary.
Florida attorneys close to both the high court and appeals court are already buzzing over the appointments. They say Lagoa and Luck will give a reliable 7-5 constitutionalist/textualist majority to the 11th Circuit, which represents Georgia, Alabama and Florida.
The two Florida justices will replace Judge Gerald Tjoflat, who was appointed by President Gerald Ford, and Judge Stanley Marcus, a President Bill Clinton appointee. Both have a reputation of offering decisions that philosophically "float somewhere around the middle."
In a press release Thursday evening Gov. Ron DeSantis praised the wisdom of the president's decision.
“President Trump has demonstrated great judgment in nominating Justices Barbara Lagoa and Robert Luck to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit,” said Governor DeSantis. “I appointed these two Justices to the Florida Supreme Court for their demonstrated understanding of the Constitution and the appropriate role of the judiciary. We are proud of these two Floridians who have earned the respect of many for being great jurists and public servants. They will serve our nation well.”
Added Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, Justices Barbara Lagoa and Robert Luck are extremely well-qualified candidates for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and I applaud President Trump for their nominations. Their brilliant legal minds and vast experience gives me great confidence that they will uphold the Constitution and rule of law with honor and integrity in their new roles.”
“President Trump has made a wise choice in appointing Justice Barbara Lagoa to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Sen. Manny Díaz Jr. “Justice Lagoa understands the proper role of the judiciary and respects the separation of power between the branches of government. Governor DeSantis made an excellent choice in appointing Justice Lagoa to the Florida Supreme Court and I trust her deep understanding of the Constitution and love for country will continue to serve Florida and the nation well.”
Read about Lagoa's extensive background HERE.
“Justice Robert Luck is a principled, honorable and well-qualified jurist and President Trump could not have nominated a better candidate,” said Rep. Randy Fine. “He is a dedicated public servant who I have no doubt will continue to faithfully uphold the rule of law on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.”
To read more about Luck, click HERE.
DeSantis will be charged with appointing two more Supreme Court justices. If he revisits remaining justice candidates from the same November 2018 shortlist from which he selected Lagoa, Luck and Justice Carlos Munoz, he will be looking at more strong constitutionalists:
- Jonathan D. Gerber, who serves as chief judge of the 4th District Court of Appeal.
- Jeffrey T. Kuntz, a judge on the 4th District Court of Appeal.
- Jamie Rutland Grosshans, a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal.
- Samuel J. Salario Jr., who serves as judge on the 2nd District Court of Appeal.
- Timothy D. Osterhaus, a judge on the 1st District Court of Appeal.
- Anuraag Singhal, a circuit court judge in Broward County.
- Bruce Kyle, a circuit court judge in Lee County, who also represented Ft. Myers as a Republican state house representative for four terms until 2006.
- John Daniel Couriel, an attorney with the Miami-based law firm Kobre & Kim.
All of the judges on the November shortlist were appointed by Republican governors. Six of the ones still available for appointment are members of the conservative Federalist Society, according to their applications.