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Governor’s Response To Lawsuit Called ‘Poor Defense’ By State Attorney

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On Friday evening, state Solicitor General Henry C. Whitaker filed a 39-page response to Warren's lawsuit on behalf of DeSantis.
DeSantis shows poor defense in lawsuit - Tampa Tech Wire

TAMPA, FL — Following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ motion for the federal court to throw out a lawsuit against him filed by ousted Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, Warren is preparing to submit a response to the court by Friday. On Friday evening, state Solicitor General Henry C. Whitaker filed a 39-page response to Warren’s lawsuit on behalf of DeSantis.

In the motion for dismissal, Whitaker stated that Warren was “not suspended for the views he expressed but for the conduct he announced.”

“Mr. Warren had no First Amendment right, as a public official, to declare that he would not perform his duties under Florida law,” Whitaker wrote in the response submitted to federal court Judge Robert Hinkle, who is overseeing the lawsuit filed by Warren.

“At bottom, this case does not warrant federal court intervention in a quintessentially state matter: the governor’s constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and the state’s constitutional process for removing wayward officials who refuse to faithfully execute those laws,” Whitaker said in the motion.

Warren promptly replied, saying he was not impressed with DeSantis’ legal arguments.

“This is a poor defense of an indefensible abuse of power,” Warren said in a statement. “The fact that taxpayers continue to foot the bill for this makes it even more shameful.”

On Aug. 4, DeSantis issued an executive order of suspension removing Warren from his twice-elected position as the state attorney for Hillsborough County “due to neglect of duty, incompetence and willful defiance of his duties as early as June 2021 when he signed a joint statement with other elected prosecutors in support of gender-transition treatments for children and bathroom usage based on gender identity.”

DeSantis also took Warren to task for signing a pledge not to prosecute doctors and women involved in abortions that violate the state’s 15-week ban, a ban that DeSantis championed, and the 2022 Legislature passed.

Currently, there is no Florida law making gender-transition treatments illegal and Florida’s 15-week abortion ban and Florida health care providers are seeking a review in the Florida Supreme Court of their challenge to the state’s ban.

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