President Trump will meet with potential Supreme Court nominee Judge Barbara Lagoa on Friday during a visit to Florida, two sources with knowledge of the plans told Axios.
Lagoa, who serves on the Eleventh Circuit Court, is widely viewed as the less likely of Trump’s two choices for the nomination, behind frontrunner Seventh Circuit judge Amy Coney Barrett. However, the sources told Axios that they believe a meeting with Lagoa has the potential to upend the nomination process because of her charisma and its possible impression on Trump.
Barrett is touted by pro-life advocates and was a finalist for a nomination in 2018, when Trump ultimately chose Brett Kavanaugh. Allies of Lagoa have countered that the Eleventh Circuit judge has a long judicial record from which her positions emerge.
“Judge Lagoa is a committed originalist and textualist, as demonstrated by her 14-year record as an appellate judge and 400 written opinions,” Jesse Panuccio, a former Justice Department official, told the Washington Free Beacon’s Kevin Daley. “She would be rock solid on the Supreme Court, a home-run pick for the president.”
Lagoa is also seen as a possible political boon for Trump. Florida Republicans including both senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, among other figures, reportedly believe the appointment of Lagoa, a daughter of Cuban exiles raised in a heavily Hispanic suburb of Miami, will help the president win Florida in the general election.
The president and Republican senators are aiming for a swift confirmation, possibly even before the November elections and in advance of potential Democratic gains in the Senate.
Republicans currently hold 53 Senate seats, however only Senators Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) and Susan Collins (R., Maine) have voiced opposition to confirming a justice before the election, giving Republicans a slim majority.