Last August, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stood in front of his favorite prop, a line of scowling law enforcement officers, and overturned the will of the voters in Hillsborough County, Florida (Tampa and environs) by suspending their twice-elected state attorney, Andrew Warren.
It was a political stunt to punish Warren, who had run afoul of the governor’s “anti-woke” agenda by joining other state attorneys in signing a letter opposing the politicized prosecution of reproductive and transgender healthcare providers. DeSantis appointed a Republican hack, Susan Lopez, to replace Warren.
Warren sued. Today, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that DeSantis violated Warren’s First Amendment rights and Florida’s constitution when he suspended Warren. But, since it’s a state matter, the judge says he lacks the standing to remedy the situation by ordering DeSantis to restore Warren to his elected position. From the Tampa Bay Times:
U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle found that DeSantis suspended Warren based on the allegation that the state attorney had blanket policies not to prosecute certain kinds of cases.
”The allegation was false,” Hinkle wrote in a ruling issued Friday morning. “Mr. Warren’s well-established policy, followed in every case by every prosecutor in the office, was to exercise prosecutorial discretion at every stage of every case. Any reasonable investigation would have confirmed this.”…
In his ruling Friday, the judge identified several factors he concluded were the governor’s motivation for the suspension. They included Warren’s pursuit of criminal justice reforms, his signing of the abortion pledge, his affiliation with the Democratic Party and reputed connection with liberal billionaire George Soros, and the political benefit the suspension would bring the governor…
The judge cited the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in concluding that he could not grant Warren’s request for reinstatement. The amendment prohibits federal courts from hearing certain lawsuits against states.
But the judge did suggest one remedy:
“If the facts matter, the governor can simply rescind the suspension,” Hinkle wrote. “If he does not do so, it will be doubly clear that the alleged non-prosecution policies were not the real motivation for the suspension.”
This is Florida, so the facts don’t matter. I’m not sure where Warren goes from here, but he’s expected to make a statement later today, so perhaps we’ll find out. The DeSantis sycophant appointed to replace Warren declined to comment, saying she is focused on “the work,” which is kissing the governor’s ass.
Nothing from the governor so far either, but when he or someone who speaks on his behalf shows up, the remarks will consist of a noun, a verb and WOKE. I rate the chances that DeSantis will do the right thing and restore the state attorney Hillsborough voters elected at approximately 0%.