Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and State Attorney Andrew Warren Continue Legal Battle Over Suspension

The battle between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and State Attorney Andrew Warren continues as Warren seeks reinstatement in federal appeals court. Warren was suspended by DeSantis in August 2022, accused of resisting the state’s new 15-week abortion ban and implementing policies to not charge people with certain minor crimes.[0] In January, a federal district court partially agreed with Warren that DeSantis had violated both the Florida state and US constitutions, but stated it lacked the authority to reverse the governor’s decision.[1] Warren’s appeal focuses on whether a federal court does have such authority where there are violations of both federal and state law.[2]

Warren is also petitioning the Florida Supreme Court for reinstatement through a separate lawsuit, with DeSantis’ attorneys urging the court to toss out the petition. On Tuesday, May 2, a panel of federal appellate judges heard arguments in Warren’s bid for a court order reinstating him.[3] Warren’s legal team argued that DeSantis’ decision to suspend him was primarily motivated by his constitutionally protected statements rather than his job performance.[3] DeSantis’ attorneys argue that Warren’s policies essentially served as a veto to legislation and that government employees do not have a First Amendment right to not enforce the law.[4]

The case has garnered attention from 15 attorneys general, who filed an amicus brief urging the court to affirm states’ authority to remove local prosecutors who refuse to enforce the law. Despite the federal judge’s findings, he stated that he lacked the authority to reverse DeSantis’ action.[5] Warren remains hopeful that the law is on his side, stating, “I believe with every fiber of my being in fighting for our freedoms, our democracy, and the rule of law–and that’s what this fight is about.”[6] The appellate judges, based in Montgomery, Alabama, and serving as part of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, will make a ruling on Warren’s appeal.[3]

0. “Warren’s latest reinstatement bid moves to appeals court” News 13 Orlando, 2 May. 2023, https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando/news/2023/05/02/warren-s-latest-reinstatement-bid-moves-to-appeals-court

1. “DeSantis, Suspended Prosecutor Spotlight Bigger Discretion Fight” Bloomberg Law, 1 May. 2023, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/desantis-suspended-prosecutor-spotlight-bigger-discretion-fight

2. “State Attorney Andrew Warren Files Final Appeals in Bid For Reinstatement” The People’s Vanguard of Davis, 28 Apr. 2023, https://www.davisvanguard.org/2023/04/state-attorney-andrew-warren-files-final-appeals-in-bid-for-reinstatement

3. “DeSantis’ Motive Key in Appeals Fight With Suspended Prosecutor” Bloomberg Law, 2 May. 2023, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/desantis-motive-key-in-appeals-fight-with-suspended-prosecutor

4. “AG joins amicus brief to uphold suspension of Florida prosecutor” KOMU 8, 24 Apr. 2023, https://www.komu.com/news/state/ag-joins-amicus-brief-to-uphold-suspension-of-florida-prosecutor/article_cecdfb9e-e2d3-11ed-a414-4b1db33ba8a4.html

5. “Warren v. DeSantis: Suspended Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren heads to federal appeals court” FOX 13 Tampa, 2 May. 2023, https://www.fox13news.com/news/warren-v-desantis-suspended-hillsborough-state-attorney-andrew-warren-fights-to-get-job-back

6. “Ousted Hillsborough State Attorney argues in federal court to be reinstated” WUSF Public Media, 2 May. 2023, https://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/courts-law/2023-05-02/ousted-hillsborough-state-attorney-argues-federal-court-reinstated

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