FL’s Justice Luck wins Senate vote on nomination to 11th Circuit; Lagoa clears key hurdle

2019 Florida Supreme Court. Front row (l-r): Justice Ricky Polston, Chief Justice Charles T. Canady, Justice Jorge Labarga. Back row (l-r): Justice Robert J. Luck, Justice Alan Lawson, Justice Barbara Lagoa, Justice Carlos G. Muñiz. Photo from Florida Supreme Court website.

Robert Luck will move into a seat on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and his Florida Supreme Court colleague Barbara Lagoa moved a step closer to following him, because of floor votes Tuesday in the U.S. Senate.

The Senate voted, 64-31, to approve President Trump’s nomination of Luck to sit on the 11th Circuit, the bench second in authority only to the U.S. Supreme Court over legal disputes arising from Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.

Senators then voted, 80-15, to approve a cloture motion on Lagoa’s nomination, limiting debate and setting her up for a final vote.

The new Florida Supreme Court vacancies would free Gov. Ron DeSantis, who’d placed Lagoa and Luck on the state’s highest court early in his term, to begin the search for their replacements. Once the governor gives the word, a judicial nominating commission will call for applicants, vet their backgrounds, and suggest finalists for the governor.

Press aides to DeSantis did not reply to a request for comment about when he might begin the process.

Update: U.S. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida issued the following written statement:

“I’m proud the Senate voted to confirm Justice Robert Luck to serve on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Justice Luck is a native Floridian who has dedicated himself to a career in public service. As governor, I had the distinct pleasure to appoint Justice Luck to the bench twice – first to the Miami-Dade Circuit Court in 2013, and later to Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal in 2017. I’m confident Justice Luck will continue to serve our state and nation well, and I am honored to support his confirmation to the federal bench.”

Marco Rubio, Florida’s senior U.S. senator, also voted to advance Luck and Lagoa.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody provide a statement: “The strength and resilience of our society hinges on a fair judicial system—not only a fair judicial system but one that is perceived as fair. I want to congratulate Judge Robert Luck on his confirmation to the 11th Circuit. President Trump has made an excellent addition to the federal bench, as Judge Luck is an outstanding jurist who decides cases based on fairness, justice and the rule of law.”

Michael Moline
Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.