Governor Ron DeSantis told reporters that the state attorney he suspended on Thursday morning put ideology over the rule of law.
The Florida Republican suspended Andrew Warren after the state attorney pledged not to charge abortion patients or their doctors for illegally terminating pregnancies. Warren made that vow in June, just days before a state law banning abortion after 15 weeks was put in effect.
“We are suspending Soros-backed 13th circuit state attorney Andrew Warren for neglecting his duties as he pledges not to uphold the laws of the state,” DeSantis’ office said in a statement.
“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 said in an interview with Fox News after a press conference where he announced the suspension. “States attorneys that put their ideology over the rule of law are not satisfying their oath of office.”
DeSantis said during the press conference that Warren repeatedly refused to enforce laws the government passed, particularly laws cracking down on sex change surgeries for children and restrictions on abortion.
Last month, Warren tweeted, “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,” Warren continued. “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.”
As part of the suspension order, DeSantis appointed Hillsborough County Court Judge Susan Lopez to replace Warren.
Florida Democrats denounced the decision almost immediately. Gubernatorial candidate and Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried called DeSantis a “wannabe dictator.”
“This is outrageous and dangerous,” Fried tweeted after the announcement.
Warren responded to the suspension on Twitter, saying, “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.”
“I do think that some of these prosecutors that have very militant agenda in terms of ideology have been able to get away with a lot in other states,” DeSantis told reporters. “We’ve had prosecutors around this country that think they can pick and choose which laws to enforce.”
“[Warren] may have thought, because they get away with it in Los Angeles, they get away with it in Baltimore, that he could do this stuff in Florida,” DeSantis added. “Not on my watch … We’re going to take action, decisive action, to protect the people of the state.”
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