DeSantis to get 5th Supreme Court pick as Polston retires

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Gov. Ron DeSantis’ already strong stamp on the Florida Supreme Court will be even greater for years to come after Justice Ricky Polston retires at the end of this month.

DeSantis will have appointed five of the court’s seven justices when he replaces Polston, who sent DeSantis a three-sentence letter Monday announcing his resignation. He didn’t give a reason for his decision.

Polston, 67, has been one of the court’s most conservative justices since being appointed by then-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist in 2008. Crist has since become a Democrat, and was criticized by other Democrats while while running for governor last year for appointing Polston to the court.

Having five appointees on the court will be a critical fact as DeSantis faces court challenges to a number of laws enacted by his administration, including new abortion restrictions and restrictions on how race and gender issues can be taught in schools.

This year the Legislature is expected to pass bills banning abortions after six weeks, expanding gun rights and restricting the use of pronouns in schools if they differ from the gender a person was assigned at birth. Those and other bills could spur more legal challenges.

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