In a recent Law360 article, Appellate Practice Group Chair, Ed Guedes, discusses Judge Barbara Lagoa’s quick ascent through the appellate ranks, as she was a top contender for the vacancy created on the U.S. Supreme Court by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Had Judge Lagoa been selected, she would have become the first Cuban-American and first Floridian to sit on the high court.
“Judge Lagoa has always been a strong believer in the distinct and separate powers of each of the branches of government and the limited role of the courts,” according to Ed, who argued before Judge Lagoa many times at the Third District. “She’s a textualist,” he said. “I would try as much as possible to hew closely to the plain meaning of statutes or texts.”
Ed said he is not surprised at her rapid rise and likened her to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who was an Arizona appellate judge who was relatively unknown outside the state when she was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. “And yet she ends up being a tremendous justice with an amazing record on the court and a tremendous legacy, and she sort of came out of nowhere,” he said.
“It is a source of tremendous pride to me to think that someone like [Judge Lagoa] who shares a similar cultural background and went through a similar upbringing, that she would end up at the Supreme Court,” Ed said. He attended Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Hialeah at the same time as Judge Lagoa.
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