Some on the political right, however, are troubled by the fact that Judge Lagoa does not appear to have a record on any abortion cases.
Leading anti-abortion activists say they would support Judge Lagoa’s nomination, but they favor Judge Amy Coney Barrett because of her clearer record on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. They worry a nominee whose jurisprudence on the issue is unknown could jeopardize a decades-long campaign to end the right to abortion, which now appears finally within their reach.
Though she is lesser known in Washington than Judge Barrett, Judge Lagoa has been someone to watch for veteran Florida lawyers for years.
A graduate of Columbia Law School, where she was an editor of The Columbia Law Review, Judge Lagoa worked at various Miami law firms, including Greenberg Traurig, before joining the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of Florida in 2003. Three years later, Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican, named her to the Third District Court of Appeal.
Judge Lagoa is married to Paul C. Huck Jr., a partner at the Jones Day law firm and a fellow member of the Federalist Society. Mr. Huck served as general counsel to former Gov. Charlie Crist and as deputy attorney general of Florida. The couple has three daughters, including fraternal twins. Judge Lagoa’s father-in-law, Paul C. Huck, is a senior federal judge in the Southern District of Florida, appointed by President Bill Clinton.
Last year, in his second day in office, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a Republican, elevated Judge Lagoa to the state’s Supreme Court. He announced his nomination in downtown Miami at the Freedom Tower, a building steeped in exile symbolism, where many Cubans first entered the United States. Speaking in Spanish, Judge Lagoa thanked her parents, noting that her father’s unrealized dream in Cuba was to become a lawyer.
Eight months later, Mr. Trump nominated her to the 11th Circuit, where she quickly encountered for a second time the question of the former felons’ voting rights. Legal experts were divided over whether Judge Lagoa’s failure to disqualify herself ran afoul of ethics rules.