Many people gathered inside the Kislak Center at the University of Miami March 27 to hear a message from Governor Ron DeSantis.
At the moment the audience had been anticipating, DeSantis announced two appointments to the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court. The new judges both graduated from the University of Miami School of Law: Michelle Alvarez Barakat and Tanya Brinkley.
Executive vice president of UM, Jeffrey Duerk, introduced DeSantis and applauded the governor’s vision for the future of Florida. The introduction was followed by rounds of applause.
“It’s great that I can come today and show some love for the U,” said DeSantis, noting that the two newly appointed women graduated with their Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law.
Brinkley is originally from Pennsylvania and attended undergraduate school at Howard University, while Barakat is a Miami native who received her undergraduate degree as well as her law degree at the U. The two have been a part of the Miami-Dade County Court since 2013.
“I was confident that they had the integrity, the intellect, the appreciation of the important role that judges play, but also the limited role that judges play, as well as an appreciation for the separation of powers,” said DeSantis.
Barakat began by complimenting DeSantis’ ideals and ensuring the public that she has “taken her oath as a judge, and will continue to serve as [she has].” She thanked the governor, her colleagues and her family.
Brinkley said she was happy to see this announcement occur at UM, the alma mater that provided her with comfort and support while she was simultaneously a student and a mother. On the verge of tears, she thanked DeSantis, her friends and her family.
“I’m very excited,” said Siddiq Canty, Brinkley’s son. “It’s been a long time coming. Thank you to the University of Miami for teaching her.”