TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday appointed Meredith Sasso, the chief judge on the 6th District Court of Appeal in Lakeland, as the next justice on the Florida Supreme Court.

What You Need To Know

  • Meredith Sasso, chief judge of the 6th District Court of Appeal, has been appointed to the Florida Supreme Court

  • A Cuban American, she will be the fifth justice appointed to the state Supreme Court by Gov. Ron DeSantis

  • She will be the third woman to serve as a justice

  • Sasso, 40, replaces Ricky Polston, who stepped down earlier this year

“I am proud to appoint Judge Meredith Sasso to the Florida Supreme Court because her fidelity to the Constitution will help preserve freedom in our state for generations to come,” DeSantis said in a statement.

Sasso, who was appointed to the court of appeal by then-Gov. Rick Scott in 2019, is the fourth woman DeSantis has appointed to the state Supreme Court.

Her appointment would increase the number of women on the Florida Supreme Court simultaneously to three, a state record. Sasso, who is Cuban American, will join justices Jamie Grosshans and Renatha Francis as female members of the Supreme Court.

Sasso is a member of the conservative Federalist Society and a member of the American Enterprise Institute Leadership Network.

“I am incredibly honored that Governor Ron DeSantis is entrusting me with this position,” Sasso said in a statement released by the Governor's Office. “The judiciary plays a critical and unique role in our constitutional government, and I am resolutely committed to upholding the rule of law for as long as I am privileged to serve.”

DeSantis has appointed five of the seven justices and all of the women justices who now will be serving on the court.

Sasso will replace Justice Ricky Polston, who stepped down from the court earlier year and has since been hired as general counsel of Citizens Property Insurance Company, the state-backed carrier.

DeSantis chose Sasso from a list of potential nominees submitted by the Judicial Nominating Committee. The finalists also included 6th District Court of Appeals judges Joshua Mize, Jared Smith and John Stargel; Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Thomas Palermo; and 20th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Thomas McHugh.

Prior to being named to the court of appeal, Sasso was Scott's chief deputy counsel and, among other duties, represented the governor in litigation before the Florida Supreme Court, the 1st District Court of Appeal, and state and federal trial courts.

Sasso graduated from the University of Florida law school in 2008 and began her career in private practice.

In Florida, justices to the court are appointed by the governor from a list recommended by the Judicial Nominating Committee, and after at least a year, they are subject to a yes/no vote by the state's voters during elections.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.