Lawsuit filed against DeSantis by a Florida prosecutor over removal for his abortion views
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — On Wednesday, a Florida prosecutor who was fired by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for his views on abortion and transgender rights filed a lawsuit to get his job back. He said that DeSantis’ actions were a violation of his First Amendment rights.
DeSantis says he suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren earlier this month because Warren signed a national pledge to not go after women and doctors who break state abortion laws or families who want to get their transgender children treated.
According to the lawsuit, “DeSantis’s Order does not identify any actual conduct by Warren related to his official duties involving alleged criminal activity for seeking gender-affirming healthcare or abortion. DeSantis’s Order does not identify any other conduct by Warren or other reason sufficient to justify a suspension.”
DeSantis held a campaign-style event to announce Warren’s suspension, and his supporters cheered the move. The governor has been under fire from Democrats for his position on abortion restrictions and for signing legislation that is considered anti-LGBTQ.
The governor, who is running for re-election in November and setting himself up to be a possible presidential candidate in 2024, talked about Warren’s “neglect of duty” and other things he said he did wrong in the campaign.
Voters in the Tampa area first elected Warren in 2016, and they did so again in 2020.
Warren said this during an interview with CNN early on Wednesday morning “What’s happening here is, he’s trying to throw out a free and fair election,” Warren said on CNN early Wednesday.”
Warren referred to the pledge that was sent by prosecutors around the nation as “a value statement,” rather than a clear decision on how he might handle any individual case. Not only did he say that Florida’s new prohibition on abortions after 15 weeks of gestation was deemed unconstitutional, but he also pointed out that there is no law in the state prohibiting hormone therapies for transgender youngsters.
According to the lawsuit filed by Warren, the governor suspended him as a form of retaliation for his opposition to the governor on a number of issues. Some of these issues are Governor DeSantis’s efforts to keep felons from getting their voting rights back and to make it illegal to protest in public as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the new restrictions on abortion.
“Of course, DeSantis is free to express his views and his disagreements with Warren as often as he likes. Indeed, the Federal Constitution ensures that he is. DeSantis went too far,” the lawsuit says.
As a prosecutor, Warren has the right to determine how the limited resources he has should be used to prosecute crimes, as the lawsuit claims, and he has a duty to the public to express where he stands on such matters. It stressed the need to put public safety first.
In a phone interview, Jean-Jacques Cabou, a lawyer for Elizabeth Warren, said that “The First Amendment protects the right of elected officials to speak out on matters of public controversy, and in fact, it does so because it’s so important that the voters who choose these elected officials know where they stand on these issues.”
Warren’s suspension is now a part of the race for governor, as Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the state’s only Democrat elected statewide, and Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist head into the last week of the primary to decide who will run against Ron DeSantis.
“For this governor to weaponize his office and remove a state attorney, a prosecutor, who has prosecutorial discretion over which cases he brings forward and which he doesn’t, this is the overreaching and overstepping of this governor. It is the most dangerous thing to our democracy that we have seen,” Fried mentioned this while speaking at a campaign event on Tuesday evening.