Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended a Florida state attorney for allegedly refusing to enforce state laws prohibiting abortion.
“Today, Governor Ron DeSantis suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren of the 13th Judicial Circuit due to neglect of duty,” DeSantis’s office said in a statement on Thursday.
The attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit, which covers Hillsborough County, has “put himself publicly above the law,” DeSantis said in a press conference on Thursday.
“We don’t elect people in one part of the state to have veto power over what the entire state decides on these important issues,” DeSantis said. “The Constitution of Florida has vested the veto power in the Governor, not in individual state attornies.”
“When you flagrantly violate the oath of office, when you make yourself above the law—you have violated your duty, you have neglected your duty, and you’re displaying a lack of confidence to be able to perform those duties,” the governor added.
Warren “publicly proclaimed in writing that he will not prosecute individuals who provide abortions in violation of Florida’s laws to protect the life of the unborn child,” the Florida governor wrote in an executive order dated Aug. 4 declaring Warren’s suspension.
The governor pointed to a June public statement Warren signed that said the undersigned prosecutors “decline to use our offices’ resources to criminalize reproductive health decisions.”
Warren’s declaration was made after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, and the Florida legislature passed bills prohibiting certain abortions, such as House Bill 5 (“Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality”), which prohibited abortion procedures after 15 weeks of pregnancy with certain exceptions.
Therefore, Warren’s “open and notorious repudiation and nullification of Florida law” and “blatant defiance of the Florida Legislature” means that “Warren can no longer be trusted to fulfill his oath of office and his duty to see that Florida law is faithfully executed,” according to DeSantis.
Warren said his suspension was an “illegal overreach” in a Thursday statement.
“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,” Warren said. “It spits in the face of the voters of Hillsborough County who have twice elected me to serve them, not Ron DeSantis.”