Overview:

Ron DeSantis removed the Hillsborough county state attorney, Andrew Warren, for refusing to enforce an abortion ban. Now he's being sued.

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has begun suspending elected officials who don’t toe the conservative line.

The Florida governor has made a national name for himself by criticizing “wokeness.” After removing Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, the governor went on the offensive, claiming Warren had a “woke agenda” for refusing to enforce the state’s new 15-week abortion ban. Now, Warren is fighting back with a lawsuit filed in federal court in Tallahassee

In a video statement, Warren said that DeSantis broke the law. “The governor has broken two laws. He’s violated my First Amendment rights by retaliating against me for speaking out on abortion and transgender rights, and he’s violated the Florida Constitution by removing me from office without any legal justification,” Warren said.

Warren said that DeSantis’ actions were dangerous for democracy. “If the governor’s allowed to do this, what’s left of democracy? If the governor’s allowed to retaliate against me for speaking out, what’s left of the First Amendment?”

DeSantis responded to Warren in a statement by arguing his suspension was legal. “It’s not surprising Warren, who was suspended for refusing to follow the law, would file a legally baseless lawsuit challenging his suspension. We look forward to responding in court,” the statement read. 

Legal analysts have said that DeSantis may face issues in court for the inconsistent application of the right he claims, as he did not take any legal action against sheriffs who said they would not enforce gun restrictions. The suspension may also face legal scrutiny as it was based on an action that has yet to be taken. 

DeSantis has made cultural issues and the conservative fight against “wokeness” central to his political brand. Some political analysts expect the Florida governor to run for president in 2024, though he would likely have an uphill battle running against former President Trump in a Republican primary.

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Marcus Johnson

Marcus Johnson is a political commentator and a political science Ph.D. candidate at American University. His primary research focus is the impact of political institutions on the racial wealth gap.