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female Cuban-American appellate judge to become the state's newest justice.

Barbara Lagoa, for the past 12 years a judge on the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami, was introduced by DeSantis at an event at Miami's Freedom Tower. The site is highly symbolic for Cuban-Americans because so many immigrants who fled the communist reign of Cuban leader Fidel Castro were processed into the U.S. through that building.

"In the country my parents fled, the whim of a single individual could mean the difference between food and hunger, liberty or prison, life or death," Lagoa said. "Unlike the country my parents fled, we are a nation of laws."

DeSantis, who just took office on Tuesday, said Lagoa, 51, has an impeccable judicial background and that her Cuban-American upbringing gives her extra appreciation for the rule of law. He noted that she has considered more than 11,000 cases and written 470 legal opinions.

"She has been the essence of what a judge should be" the governor said. "She understands the rule of law, how important that is to a society."

Lagoa, who grew up in the heavily Cuban-American suburb of Hialeah, attended Florida International University and Columbia University law school where she was associate editor of the Columbia Law Review. She also is a former federal prosecutor in Miami. Her father-in-law is Miami senior U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck and her husband, Paul C. Huck Jr., is a prominent Miami attorney.



Three months after a ruling halted the impeachment process involving most of West Virginia's Supreme Court justices, the state Senate president is seeking a second opinion.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael said Friday at the annual Legislative Lookahead forum he's asked state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to look into handling a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Carmichael, a Republican, is still steamed at a panel of state Supreme Court stand-ins that ruled impeachment efforts of the justices were a violation of the separation of powers doctrine. The process was officially derailed when the presiding judge didn't show up to Justice Margaret Workman's trial in the state Senate in light of the court's ruling blocking it.

"We believe it is totally, completely wrong," Carmichael said. The acting justices ruled the Senate lacked jurisdiction to pursue Workman's trial and later applied the decision to trials involving justices Robin Davis and Allen Loughry, who had petitioned the court to intervene.

Davis retired after the House approved impeachment charges against her. Loughry resigned after being convicted of felony fraud charges in federal court.


The partial government shutdown has prompted the chief judge of Manhattan federal courts to suspend work on civil cases involving U.S. government lawyers. The order suspends action in several civil lawsuits in which President Donald Trump is a defendant.

Judge Colleen McMahon said in a written order that the suspension will remain in effect until the business day after the president signs a budget appropriation law restoring Justice Department funding.

The Manhattan courts, with several dozen judges, are among the nation’s busiest courts.

In one case involving Trump, a judge last week ruled that a group of people suing Trump and his three eldest children can remain anonymous because they fear retaliation by the president or his followers.

Back from a 29-hour trip to visit U.S. troops in Iraq, President Donald Trump is returning his attention to the ongoing partial U.S. government shutdown, which is in its sixth day.

In a morning tweet, Trump says “we desperately need” a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, funding for which has been a flashpoint between the White House and Congress ever since Trump took office.

The president is calling on Democrats in Congress to fund his wall, saying the shutdown affects their supporters. He says: “Do the Dems realize that most of the people not getting paid are Democrats?”

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are on unpaid furlough and even more are required to work without pay after Trump and Congress could not reach consensus on a short-term funding bill last week.


Legal groups suing the Trump administration over its ban on asylum for anyone who illegally crosses the U.S.-Mexico border have argued their case before a federal judge in San Francisco.

U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar did not immediately rule Monday on the groups' request to stop the administration from enforcing the ban.

President Donald Trump issued a proclamation on Nov. 9 that says anyone who crossed the southern border would be ineligible for asylum. That would potentially make it harder for thousands of people who enter the U.S. to avoid deportation.

Trump issued the proclamation in response to the caravans of migrants that have started to arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border. The American Civil Liberties Union quickly sued, saying U.S. law makes clear that people can seek asylum regardless of how they enter the country.



Maryland is challenging the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as the new U.S. acting attorney general.

A draft filing obtained by The Associated Press argues that President Donald Trump sidestepped the Constitution and normal procedure by naming Whitaker to the position in place of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (ROH'-zen-styn).

Whitaker was appointed Nov. 7 after the White House demanded the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Whitaker had been Sessions' chief of staff.

The Maryland filing was expected to be made Tuesday in a legal dispute with the Trump administration over the Affordable Care Act. That lawsuit names Sessions as a defendant. The state seeks to name Rosenstein as a defendant over Whitaker. Spokespeople for the Justice Department haven't responded to an email seeking comment.

Trump attends Kavanaugh ceremony at Supreme

  Politics  -   POSTED: 2018/11/08 17:21

President Donald Trump has visited the Supreme Court for the ceremonial swearing-in of new Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The president and first lady Melania Trump also met privately with the justices before Thursday's brief courtroom ceremony.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker took part in the ceremony for an invitation-only crowd that included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, retired Justice Anthony Kennedy and many of Kavanaugh's former colleagues. Among them was Judge Merrick Garland, whose high court nomination McConnell blocked in 2016.

Kavanaugh was nominated to take Kennedy's seat and confirmed last month amid allegations he sexually assaulted a woman decades ago. Kavanaugh denied it.

Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath Kavanaugh took when he was officially sworn in October. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, hospitalized with fractured ribs, was absent.

At Ohio rally, Trump takes another victory lap

  Politics  -   POSTED: 2018/10/13 07:39

President Donald Trump has taken another victory lap in Ohio. He was touting a “really historic week for America” that began with the installation of his second Supreme Court justice and concluded with the release of an American detained in Turkey.

Trump campaigned Friday for Ohio’s gubernatorial and congressional candidates, but, as he often does, spent much of the hour-plus speech touting his own track record. He zeroed in on the past week, which many White House aides believe was one of the most successful of his presidency.

Trump drew loud cheers from the crowd for securing the release of pastor Andrew Brunson, swaggering that “we bring a lot of people back.”

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