Lagoa formally sworn in as justice

File photo
File photo

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After being appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in January, Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Lagoa was formally sworn into office Friday during a ceremony that included a courtroom filled with friends and colleagues.

Lagoa, the first Cuban-American woman on the court, has been serving as a justice since the appointment. The Supreme Court, however, typically holds formal investiture ceremonies months after justices take office.

Lagoa, who had served a dozen years on the 3rd District Court of Appeal before the Supreme Court appointment, took the oath of office Friday from her father-in-law, Senior U.S. District Judge Paul Huck.

During the ceremony, Lagoa said her parents came to the United States from Cuba “without anything but their education, their strong work ethic and their desire to succeed, and these are values that they instilled in me.”

She also indicated that because of the experiences of people such as her parents, she has a “special appreciation” for the rule of law.

“Because we understand what it means when individual liberties, respect for private property and basic human rights are abandoned by a government. And this is why the oath I just took is not just words on a piece of paper to me,” Lagoa said. “I am particularly mindful of my obligation under our constitutional system of separated powers. Unlike the country my parents fled, we are a nation of laws and not of men.”

DeSantis early this year also appointed justices Robert Luck and Carlos Muniz. A joint investiture ceremony for them is scheduled Sept. 24.