OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A prosecutor who was fired by Florida Gov. Rob DeSantis for declining to prosecute crimes related to abortions or transgender care took another hit from a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle on Monday declined to reinstate Andrew Warren as his case against the Republican Florida governor continues, The Associated Press reported.
The former state attorney said that his firing violated his free speech and that the governor exceeded his authority.
“Mr. Warren is an elected official and his speech is protected by the first amendment,” Warren’s attorney said at a press conference after the hearing.
That is a curious argument. Would it apply to a police officer who decided he or she did not want to arrest people for certain crimes that they deemed top be not important?
The lawsuit asks that Warren be reinstated, and that Gov. DeSantis be prohibited from taking similar action against him in the future.
“We look forward to a trial where the governor can come in and explain to the court why he thinks what he did is in compliance with federal law and state law,” the suspended attorney said.
“The judge is clearly and rightfully so interested in what the governor would say in a judicial forum and the trial would be that opportunity,” his attorney said.
The trial is set to take place in four – 12 weeks.
The office of Gov. DeSantis was also pleased with the judge’s decision.
“We are pleased that the court denied Andrew Warren’s request for a preliminary injunction. The Governor is entrusted by the people of Florida to utilize his constitutional powers and may suspend elected officials in Florida who refuse to enforce the law,” it said.
In August, it was reported that DeSantis sent law enforcement officials to remove State Attorney Andrew Warren of the 13th Judicial Circuit, who is backed by George Soros, from office.
“State Attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda,” DeSantis said in a statement. “It is my duty to hold Florida’s elected officials to the highest standards for the people of Florida. I have the utmost trust that Judge Susan Lopez will lead the office through this transition and faithfully uphold the rule of law.”
DeSantis ordered, “As of the signing of this Executive Order, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by other law enforcement agencies as necessary, is requested to: (i) assist in the immediate transition of Andrew Warren from the Office of the State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit of Florida, with access only to retrieve his personal belongings; and (ii) ensure that no files, papers, documents, notes, records, computers, or removable storage media are removed from the Office of the State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit of Florida by Andrew Warren or any of his staff.”
The governor suspended state attorney Andrew Warren after he vowed not to charge abortion patients or the doctors who illegally perform the procedure to terminate a pregnancy. Warren made the pledge in June just days ahead of a state law barring the procedure after 15 weeks was to go into effect, the outlet added.
“We had the individual here from Hillsborough County say and signed letters that there are certain laws he just won’t enforce and won’t prosecute,” DeSantis told Fox News exclusively following a press conference in which he announced Warren’s suspension.
“States attorneys that put their ideology over the rule of law are not satisfying their oath of office,” said DeSantis, himself a Harvard-education lawyer and Yale graduate who served as a judge advocate in the U.S. Navy and an assistant U.S. Attorney.
In a tweet last month, Warren wrote: “The 15-week ban is unconstitutional on its face. Tallahassee knew it when it passed the bill hoping judges will ignore the privacy right in FL Constitution.”
“I put my hand on the Bible and swore to defend the US & Florida Constitutions. Florida’s Constitution has a privacy right that clearly covers abortion. While Tallahassee tries to circumvent the law, I will uphold the law and protect our freedom,” he added.
The 15-week ban is unconstitutional on its face. Tallahassee knew it when it passed the bill hoping judges will ignore the privacy right in FL Constitution.
Beware of the hypocritical “textualist”who wants the law strictly limited to the words on the page only when convenient. https://t.co/OHqv71BOeD
— Andrew Warren (@AndrewWarrenFL) June 30, 2022
But during the press conference, the governor said that Warren has refused on several occasions to enforce laws duly passed by the legislature that crack down on child sex-change operations as well as other abortion restrictions.