Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has suspended a state prosecutor who promised not to prosecute individuals over the state’s newly enacted 15-week abortion ban.
DeSantis suspended 13th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Andrew Warren on Thursday. Shortly after, the Florida governor made a statement in Tampa, which is near the attorney’s area of jurisdiction.
DeSantis accused Warren of “neglect of duty” and of being incompetent in performing his job. Under Florida law, state prosecutors can only be removed by a governor under certain conditions, including those two criteria.
DeSantis’s executive order cites the fact that Warren had joined prosecutors across the U.S. in signing a pledge not to enforce abortion bans if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and states enacted laws prohibiting or restricting the procedure. The order also predicted that Warren would refuse to enforce a ban on gender-affirming care should such a ban be passed by the Florida legislature.
The suspension takes effect immediately, though Warren will still retain his title, as state law requires the Florida Senate to take action to formally remove him from his post. In the meantime, Warren’s duties will be fulfilled by Hillsborough County Judge Susan Lopez, who was appointed by DeSantis.
Warren, who serves in an elected position, is viewed as a “rising star” in Democratic circles throughout the state. He decried his suspension as a “political stunt” and an “illegal overreach that continues a dangerous pattern by Ron DeSantis of using his office to further his own political ambition.”
Today’s political stunt is an illegal overreach that continues a dangerous pattern by Ron DeSantis of using his office to further his own political ambition. It spits in the face of the voters of Hillsborough County who have twice elected me to serve *them*, not Ron DeSantis… pic.twitter.com/RzPXksSSWa
— Andrew Warren (@AndrewWarrenFL) August 4, 2022
“The people have the right to elect their own leaders — not have them dictated by an aspiring presidential candidate,” Warren said, noting DeSantis’s ambitions for higher office.
“Based on the governor’s track record with unconstitutional orders, this will be just as unconstitutional,” he went on.
Warren further condemned the governor’s action during a Thursday interview on CNN.
The order is “not even talking about things that I’ve done in the office,” Warren said. “It is talking about things I may do in the future…I mean this is out of, like, 1984 Orwellian thought police.”
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