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TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/5/19-Justice Barbara Lagoa during the opening day of the 2019 Legislative session at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

Federal

If leaning toward Barbara Lagoa, Donald Trump isn’t showing it yet

The President will decide on his RBG replacement this week.

The President of the United States discussed the new opening on the U.S. Supreme Court on Fox and Friends Monday morning, but he did not commit to a single candidate.

Even as questions focused on Hialeah’s Barbara Lagoa to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Donald Trump did not commit to her as a pick (or even a front-runner) beyond being considered as part of a group that is “down to five” women.

Lagoa, a 52-year-old judge who moved to the federal 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals from the Florida Supreme Court in 2019, has been a rising star in judicial circles, and numerous Florida Republicans are making the push for Lagoa both on qualifications and political grounds.

However, if those personal appeals have swung the President, he wasn’t tipping his decision on the Monday morning cable news hit.

“She’s excellent. She’s Hispanic. She’s a terrific woman from everything I know, I don’t know her. Florida, we love Florida,” Trump said about Lagoa. “She had a lot of things, very smart.”

These comments stopped short of a full endorsement.

The President said the list is “down to five,” with two names that he wouldn’t say in addition to Allison Jones Rushing and Amy Comey Barrett.

“Probably four, but I’m looking at five.”

Smart-set speculation has centered on Barrett as the front-runner, with Lagoa surging. Like Lagoa, Barrett is a conservative Catholic.

“We’re looking at probably Friday or maybe Saturday,” Trump said, after the memorial services for Justice Ginsburg.

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“We should wait until the services are all over,” the President added. “I will announce it Friday or Saturday and the work begins.”

The President admitted that politics is a factor, but not the only one.

“I think automatically it is,” Trump said. “Even if you’re not wanting to do that, it becomes a little bit about that.”

But “less so than the person themselves,” Trump said.

“We’re looking for somebody who’s brilliant, really understands the law, abides by the Constitution … a good person with moral values.”

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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