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Tags: florida | ron desantis | andrew warren | suspension

Florida Senate Pauses Review of DeSantis Suspension as Warren Lawsuit Moves Ahead

Ron DeSantis.
Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis (AP)

By    |   Thursday, 18 August 2022 01:21 PM EDT

The Florida state Senate has tapped the brakes on its review of Gov. Ron DeSantis' suspension of Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren.

According to state Senate rules, suspension reviews must be paused while any legal case related to the suspension plays out.

State Senate President Wilton Simpson wrote a memo to senators advising them of the development after Warren filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday, according to Florida Politics.

"The basis for any future Senate proceeding will be impacted by the current litigation," Simpson, a Republican, wrote. "As such, I have directed that any Senate proceedings regarding Executive Order of Suspension 22-176 be held in abeyance until a final determination in this pending litigation has been rendered."

In suspending Warren on Aug. 4, DeSantis cited the attorney's signing of a pledge not to prosecute women seeking abortions or their doctors. He also cited Warren's pledge not to enforce the law regarding medical procedures for transgender people and a lenient approach to prosecuting those accused of a crime.

Claiming that the suspension order violated his First Amendment rights, Warren, a Democrat, is challenging the Republican governor's authority to suspend him over policy disagreements.

"I'm not going down without a fight," Warren said, according to The Tennessee Star. "I'm a former federal prosecutor, the duly elected State Attorney, a native Floridian and a proud American. I refuse to let this man trample on your freedoms to speak your mind, to make your own healthcare decisions, and to have your vote count."

Warren also claims that Florida's abortion law is in violation of the Florida Constitution.

"State Attorneys have a duty to enforce the law, not ignore laws they don't like," DeSantis tweeted Aug. 5. "Placing one's personal conception of 'social justice' above the rule of law is a dereliction of duty."

According to Florida Politics, the Florida constitution grants the state Senate the authority to review any suspensions of public officials made by the governor, though Senate trials are infrequent.

The last such trial was in 2019, when the state Senate upheld DeSantis' suspension of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel over his handling of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018.

Like he did during the last executive suspension case, Simpson has advised senators from speaking publicly or giving opinions on the Warren case because they will have to serve as jury members if a Senate trial moves forward.

"As I have said previously, given our constitutional role in this process, I believe Senators should refrain from speaking publicly about the merits or substance of any executive suspension," Simpson wrote in his memo. "Thank you for your attention to this important constitutional responsibility of the Senate."

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The Florida state Senate has tapped the brakes on its review of Gov. Ron DeSantis' suspension of Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren.
florida, ron desantis, andrew warren, suspension
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2022-21-18
Thursday, 18 August 2022 01:21 PM
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