First Cuban-American Sworn In As Chief Justice Of The Florida Supreme Court

Jul 1, 2014

Jorge Labarga became Florida's first Cuban-American Chief Justice Monday.
Credit Nick Evans / WFSU News

Florida’s newest Supreme Court chief justice was sworn in Monday.  Justice Jorge Labarga is the first Cuban-American to hold the post. 

Fellow Justice Barbara Pariente says Labarga’s experience will serve him well in his new post. 

“I believe that Justice Labarga, having served on this court for five years, but also having taken part in so many of the past administrative responsibilities, will be well suited,” Pariente says.

Pariente served as chief justice from 2004 to 2006.

And Labarga’s appointment is historic – former Florida Supreme Court justice and fellow Cuban-American Raoul Cantero says Labarga is a role model.

“I think it gives hope to all the Hispanics in Florida that they can, they can do whatever they want to do, they can have hopes to achieve whatever they want to achieve.  This is a country that gives opportunities to those that want to work for it,” Cantero says.

Florida’s Supreme Court operates a little differently than the federal version.  In Florida, justices don’t serve for life, and the seven judges vote among themselves to decide who fills the role of chief justice.  The chief’s term of office is two years long, and Labarga is the 56th to serve.