Lagoa, Muñiz on president’s list of possible U.S. Supreme Court justices, should an opening arise

U.S. Supreme Court, Dec. 2, 2019. Credit: Robin Bravender

Two Floridians are on the list of potential U.S. Supreme Court justices released this week by the White House: Barbara Lagoa of the U.S. Court of Appeal for the 11th Circuit and Carlos Muñiz of the Florida Supreme Court.

Theirs are among 20 names President Trump released on Wednesday as campaigning begins in earnest for the Nov. 3 general election.

“Should there be another vacancy on the Supreme Court during my presidency, my nominee will come from the names I have shared with the American public, including the original list and these 20 additions,” Trump said in written remarks.

Lagoa was among the first jurists elevated to the Florida Supreme Court after Gov. Ron DeSantis took office in 2019. Trump elevated her to the 11th Circuit last fall. Earlier, she’d served on the state’s Third District Court of Appeal.

The governor also appointed Muñiz to the state high court. He’d been general counsel to the U.S. Department of Education and served as a deputy to former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Both belong to the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, the conservative-to-libertarian organization that grooms young conservatives for legal careers and recommends judicial candidates to Trump. DeSantis, himself affiliated with the group, also looks to it for new judges.

Trump released his first such list in advance of the 2016 election, in part to shore up support among evangelical Christians looking for judges friendly to their positions on abortion, LGBTQ rights, and the other aspects of their religious views.

This year’s list includes such figures as Republican U.S. senators Ted Cruz of Texas, who was a leading appellate lawyer before going into politics; Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Tom Cotton of Arkansas.