- A list of six finalists to replace outgoing Florida Supreme Court Justice Ricky Polston has been submitted to Governor Ron DeSantis.
- The finalists include four judges from the 6th District Court of Appeal, Chief Judge Meredith Sasso, and Judges Jared Smith, Joshua Mize, and John Stargel, along with two circuit judges, Thomas Palermo and Chief Judge Thomas McHugh.
- Gov. DeSantis has 60 days to make his selection from the final list of six, among which only McHugh has no affiliation with the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies.
The Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission has submitted a list of six finalists for the vacant seat left by former Justice Ricky Polston. The finalists, sent to Governor Ron DeSantis, include four judges from the 6th District Court of Appeal—Chief Judge Meredith Sasso, and Judges Jared Smith, Joshua Mize, and John Stargel—along with two circuit judges, Thomas Palermo from Hillsborough County and Chief Judge Thomas McHugh from the 20th Judicial Circuit.
Polston left the Supreme Court in March and has since been appointed as the general counsel of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Initially, only three candidates applied for the position before the April 3 deadline, prompting the nominating commission to extend the deadline to April 18. In total, 15 applicants were interviewed this week.
Sasso and Palermo were among the initial applicants and are now part of the final list submitted to Gov. DeSantis, who has 60 days to make his selection. DeSantis, a Republican governor, has previously appointed four of the current justices on the seven-member Supreme Court.
Among the six finalists, only McHugh has disclosed no affiliation with the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, a network of conservative and libertarian lawyers. A number of previous DeSantis appointees have been affiliated with the Federalist Society.