DeSantis suspends state attorney for refusing to enforce laws on abortion, transgender surgery
(The Hill) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren on Thursday for “neglect of duty” after the prosecutor refused to enforce bans on abortion and transgender surgery.
“When you flagrantly violate your oath of office, when you make yourself above the law, you have violated your duty, you have neglected your duty and you are displaying a lack of competence to be able to perform those duties,” DeSantis said at a news conference in the county sheriff’s office.
“And so today we are suspending State Attorney Andrew Warren effective immediately.”
Warren, a Democrat, was first elected in 2016, when he defeated the Republican incumbent, and has been an outspoken voice for social justice.
DeSantis cited Warren’s signing of a letter saying that he would not enforce “prohibitions on sex change operations for minors,” and another saying that he would not enforce “any laws related to protecting the right to life,” as evidence that the state attorney had shirked his duty as a public prosecutor.
“It’s not for him to put himself above that and say that he’s not going to enforce the laws,” DeSantis said, accusing Warren of acting like he had “veto power” over the state legislature.
The governor announced that he would replace Warren with former Judge Susan Lopez.
“I have the utmost respect for our state laws and I understand the important role that the State Attorney plays in ensuring the safety of our community and the enforcement of our laws,” Lopez said in a statement.
“I want to thank the Governor for placing his trust in me, and I promise that I will faithfully execute the duties of this office.”