MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When President Donald Trump announces whom he intends to nominate for the US Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the pick might be someone from South Florida.
Judge Barbara Lagoa is one of two women rumored to be at the top of the president’s list of contenders.
CBS4 anchor Lauren Pastrana spoke with teachers, friends, and colleagues who say judge Lagoa would be a great choice for the job.
The South Florida native, originally from Hialeah, is on President Trump’s shortlist for the Supreme Court and her hometown is buzzing.
“I would be extremely proud to have a fellow Miamian. A fellow Floridian. A fellow woman. And a fellow Cuban American on the US Supreme Court,” said Raquel Rodriguez.
The only child of Cuban exiles, Lagoa grew up in Hialeah, where she attended Immaculate Conception Catholic School.
“I remember, you know, thousands of students that I’ve taught, and I just remember her very clearly. So she made an impression on me. Her classmates. She’s going to make an impression on the world,” said Kathleen Callow, her 8th-grade language arts teacher.
“I remember her as a very dedicated student. Intelligent. And well-liked by her peers. She was voted best leader for her class,” said Callow.
From Immaculate, she went on to Monsignor Edward Pace High School in Miami Gardens.
Principal Ana Garcia says Lagoa’s professional success is an inspiration to current students.
“Even from the time she was in high school, she was the type of person that you can see shooting for the stars and accomplishing whatever it is she sets her mind to,” Garcia said.
Lagoa graduated from Florida International University and Columbia Law School.
Twenty years ago, she was one of the attorneys who represented the Miami family of Elian Gonzalez.
Her friend and colleague, lawyer and government relations consultant Justin Sayfie says, “It’s due time the Supreme Court had a justice from Florida.”
“She’s got a lot of humility and I think we need more of that from our judges,” Sayfie said.
Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Lagoa to the Florida Supreme Court in January of 2019.
Months later, President Trump nominated her to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta.
“Justice Lagoa has distinguished herself on the bench and I think that’s what led to these rapid series of promotions,” said Sayfie.
Raquel Rodriguez has known Lagoa since her early days as an intern at a Miami law firm.
“She’s really an extraordinary human being. She’s very attuned to what others are saying. She has an open mind. She’s willing to listen,” said Rodriguez.
“There’s never been a justice from Florida. Let alone Miami, so I think it would be a wonderful occasion.”
Lagoa is married to Paul Huck Jr., an attorney and the son of a federal judge. They have 3 daughters.
If nominated and confirmed, she would be the first Cuban American on the US Supreme Court.