Florida’s two U.S. senators have made personal appeals to President Donald Trump to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court with Miami native Barbara Lagoa.
In interviews with the Miami Herald, Republican Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio said they spoke to Trump about their preference for Lagoa, a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta and former Florida Supreme Court justice.
Lagoa is considered a top finalist for the lifetime appointment along with Amy Coney Barrett, a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago. If Lagoa is nominated and confirmed, she would be the first Floridian, the first Cuban-American and the second Hispanic on the nation’s highest court.
“I spoke to him today,” Rubio said Wednesday, referring to Trump. “I think [Lagoa] would be great and I’m a big fan of Judge Barrett, too. I have a preference, I suppose, for Lagoa because she’s from South Florida, because her life story is emblematic of everything we hope for our children in our community.”
Trump said he will make his Supreme Court pick on Saturday evening. He has said he intends to fill Ginsburg’s vacancy with a woman.
Rubio said Lagoa’s education at Florida International University, a public university where he also teaches, and her experience in the private sector as an attorney are pluses for her potential nomination.
Scott said that when he spoke to Trump, he brought up Lagoa’s relatively uncontroversial appointment less than a year ago when she was confirmed to the appeals court on an 80-15 U.S. Senate vote.
“I think they’re probably both great candidates but I know Barbara and she would be great for Florida,” Scott said. “I don’t know Amy at all but everything I’ve read has been positive. I talked to Trump about it and told him about the positives of Barbara.”
Scott wasn’t serving as governor when Lagoa was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court in 2019, but said “she’s clearly somebody I would be very interested in appointing” to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Republicans appear to have the votes to confirm Trump’s nominee before Election Day if confirmation hearings do not bring up any major red flags. Some Republican senators have expressed a preference for Barrett over Lagoa because they feel she is a near-lock to vote in favor of conservative priorities like overturning Roe v. Wade, the court decision that protects a woman’s right to an abortion.
Rubio said he has no doubts that Lagoa’s approach to the job will be similar to that of former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia if she is nominated.
Rubio and Scott said appointing Lagoa wouldn’t hurt Trump’s standing with voters in Florida, his most crucial swing state, though they acknowledged that other factors will likely play a bigger role for most voters choosing between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Both have said they will confirm whichever candidate Trump nominates.