DeSantis Wins First Big Ruling in Fired State Attorney Lawsuit
Last month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis decided to fire State Attorney Andrew Warren.
The decision came after Warren refused to enforce Florida’s 15-week abortion law and refused to enforce Florida’s prohibition on sex changes for minors.
“Andrew Warren has put himself publicly above the law,” DeSantis said last month. “The Constitution of Florida has vested the veto power in the Governor, not an individual State Attorney.”
Warren sued DeSantis and the state government for violating his First Amendment hoping to be reinstated as a State Attorney.
In late August, 115 attorneys filed a brief in Warren’s favor, saying that Warren’s suspension should be “deeply concerning to everyone who believes in democracy and the checks and balances our forebears established.”
For their part, the Florida Sheriff’s Association wrote a brief supporting DeSantis, saying that Warren’s refusal to enforce prosecute laws he disagreed with was a threat to public safety.
Florida Sheriffs on ousted Soros-backed prosecutor: His policy “incentivizes criminals to explore methods that will escape the attention of law enforcement officers because the state attorney has announced that these cases will never be charged.”https://t.co/FZfQCZ5ZpZ
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) September 8, 2022
On Monday, Judge Robert Hinkle issued his first significant ruling in the case.
Hinkle denied Warren’s preliminary injunction, which would have allowed him to get his job back while the case was litigated.
Warren seemed bullish on his chances of getting reinstated before the hearing, saying that he will “refuse to stand by” as the Governor attempts to ‘steal people’s vote.’
Warren’s attorneys want the case to start on October 24th and believe the court could call DeSantis to testify.
In Tallahassee, a federal judge denies ousted state attorney Andrew Warren's request for an injunction that would reinstate him. The case now goes to trial. Warren's lawyer wants it to start on Oct. 24. And he expects Florida Gov. DeSantis would be among those called to testify.
— Greg Allen (@gallennpr) September 19, 2022
“I refuse to stand by as the governor tries to steal the people’s vote and silence the people’s voice,” Warren said in a video posted to his Twitter account before Monday’s court hearing.
It’s hearing day and I’m here in Tallahassee about to head into the courthouse. Today is about more than just me and Ron DeSantis–it's about preserving the very foundations of our democracy. pic.twitter.com/PlZ5ADoPn0
— Andrew Warren (@AndrewWarrenFL) September 19, 2022
DeSantis’ Solicitor General filed a brief giving the state government’s initial argument in the case, saying that refusing to enforce state laws is not protected by the First Amendment.
“Mr. Warren had no First Amendment right, as a public official, to declare that he would not perform his duties under Florida law,” state Solicitor General Henry Whitaker wrote in the 39-page filing for DeSantis earlier this month.
While Hinkle’s ruling was a significant victory for Desantis, some have speculated that the judge did not seem convinced by his legal team’s arguments. Gray Rohrer, a reporter for Florida Politics, said that the judge was grilling DeSantis’ lawyers during the hearing.
Judge Hinkle denies motion for preliminary injunction to reinstate Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, who was suspended by @GovRonDeSantis . But the judge grilled Desantis’ lawyers and didn’t seem convinced of their case. Wants trial soon.
— Gray Rohrer (@GrayRohrer) September 19, 2022