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Justices Lagoa, Luck nominated for the federal bench

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President Donald Trump announced his intent September 12 to nominate Florida Supreme Court Justices Barbara Lagoa and Robert Luck to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

Justice Barbara LagoaIf confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Lagoa and Luck — who were appointed to the Supreme Court just this past January — would fill vacancies created by Judge Gerald Tjoflat and Judge Stanley Marcus, who have announced their intentions to take senior status.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Trump demonstrated “great judgment” in nominating Justices Lagoa and Luck.

“I appointed these two justices to the Florida Supreme Court for their demonstrated understanding of the Constitution and the appropriate role of the judiciary,” DeSantis said. “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.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has jurisdiction over federal cases originating in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.

Florida Bar President John Stewart said Luck and Lagoa have served Florida well as lawyers and jurists, and both are highly qualified to provide their knowledge and expertise to the entire country.

Justice Robert Luck“It is well-known throughout Florida that they have repeatedly demonstrated the ability to apply the law to reach fair and just outcomes,” Stewart said. “I am excited about their continued public service to our state and now possibly to our country. I want to thank them for their service on behalf of the lawyers of Florida and wish them much continued success in their future judicial service.”

Bar President-elect Dori Foster-Morales said she has known both justices for many years and is “absolutely thrilled” with their nominations.

“They were excellent appointments to the Florida Supreme Court, and, personally and professionally, I am certain that both are exceptional human beings and highly skilled jurists who will always be a tribute to any court they serve,” Foster-Morales said.

Lagoa, former chief judge of the Third District Court of Appeal and the first Cuban-American woman to serve on the state’s highest court, took the bench in 2006. Justice Lagoa was also an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Florida and spent 11 years in private practice in Miami. Justice Lagoa also served as the chair of the Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee from 2015 to 2016.

An appellate lawyer for Greenburg Traurig, Luck was also an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Florida from 2008-2013, where he worked on appeals, major crimes, and economic crimes. By the time he left that office, Luck was deputy chief of the Major Crimes Division. He was appointed to the 11th Circuit bench in September 2013 and served there until he was named to the Third DCA in March 2017.

“Justices Lagoa and Luck have long been two of the brightest stars in the South Florida legal community and both are eminently qualified choices for the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals,” said immediate past Bar President Michelle Suskauer. “Justice Lagoa’s impressive and diverse experience at the highest levels of both the public and private sectors inform her deep insight and broad perspective on the legal issues she would face on the court. Justice Luck is well known for having exceptional temperament, experience, and intellect and he will undoubtedly serve the court with the highest distinction.”