A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Florida attorney general against Gov. Ron DeSantis over his suspension last year.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said in his opinion Friday that DeSantis’ suspension of Andrew Warren, the fired Hillsborough County state’s attorney, violated Florida law, but as a federal judge, he could not convict a state official based on violations. State Law.
The Republican governor abruptly fired Warren, a two-time Democratic nominee, in August, saying the Tampa-based attorney neglected the office’s duties by promising not to use his office to deport people who seek abortions or doctors who provide them. gender-affirming care for transgender people.
The suspension of Warren was a classic example of DeSantis aggressively using his executive powers to escalate the culture wars and raise his profile in the national public. The attorney general is a democratically elected office, and the governor’s critics say his move to suspend Warren undermined the will of Tampa voters who elected him their attorney general.
Warren, at his trial, was asking a judge to reinstate him.
But Hinkle rejected Warren’s arguments that DeSantis violated the United States’ free speech protection laws in a way that would require a federal court action. Warren said she was suspended for protected speech — specifically, public statements she made in support of abortion and LGBTQ rights. Although the statement, and other factors that led to Warren’s suspension, were defensible, DeSantis “would have made the same decision, even without considering these factors,” Hinkle concluded, pointing to Warren’s approach as a “reformist attorney.”
“The violation of the First Amendment was not essential to the outcome and you should not allow Mr. Warren to be assisted in this process,” Hinkle said. “The suspension also violated the Florida Constitution, and that violation affected the outcome. But the 11th Amendment prevents a federal court from granting injunctive relief or the kind of relief it has against a state executive merely for violating state law.”
Testimony presented at the trial showed that the embassy saw political gain in removing Warren. The court records also revealed that DeSantis’ partner was tasked with finding prosecutors who disagreed with the governor’s legal opinions.
In a statement to CNN following Hinkle’s decision, DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Fenske said: “Today the court upheld the governor’s decision to suspend Andrew Warren from office for neglect and misconduct.” However, Hinkle’s decision, which was 59 pages long, was mostly critical of the governor’s actions and did not say that Warren chose his job or appeared incompetent.
Hinkle said in his opinion that “there is no evidence of Mr. Warren’s wrongdoing” in the prosecution and that “the allegation that Mr.
A spokesman for Warren did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This topic has been updated.