What does Barbara Lagoa’s appointment mean for the Florida Supreme Court?

Paolo Cesar

Florida’s Supreme Court now has its first ever Hispanic woman. Newly inducted Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Cuban-American Judge Barbara Lagoa to a position in Florida’s highest court on Wednesday.

Barbara Lagoa, the newest appointee to the Florida Supreme Court. Photo courtesy of AP.

Mary Borg, UNF professor of political science, feels that DeSantis’s choice ultimately helped the court to better reflect the demographic changes in Florida.

“Ever since the early 1960s, with the revolution in Cuba, there was an influx of Hispanics to Miami, and they’ve been here for two to three generations, so that’s been a major influence on politics,” Borg said. “From that perspective, DeSantis could be trying to be more mainstream, have the Supreme Court more closely reflect the citizenry.”

Borg also noted that with Lagoa being female, her nomination represents a two-for-one turn in changing representation in the Supreme Court.

However, Borg also stated that DeSantis’s choice could be just as much a chance for his party to shore up its defenses as it is a change for balanced representation.

“Before, it was a four-to-three majority of Liberals versus Conservatives, and at least one of them was African-American,” Dr. Borg explained. “So while this is a chance to change traditional representation in Florida’s Supreme Court, it’s also a major ideological shift. The Court’s rolling three Justices off, and DeSantis is adding more Conservatives in their place.”

Ultimately, Borg explained Lagoa’s nomination by DeSantis as both a step forward and a step back. Borg believes that while Lagoa would better represent Florida’s changes in demographics, her position would also add to the problems of underrepresentation for African-Americans in politics.

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