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Federal appeals court will decide whether to reinstate Andrew Warren as Hillsborough state attorney

Andrew Warren speaks at podium
Sky Lebron
WUSF Public Media
Andrew Warren addresses the media after Friday's decision was released

Attorneys for Warren and Gov. Ron Desantis will hold in-person arguments in court Tuesday.

A federal appeals court will determine whether to reinstate Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, after he was suspended last year by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

In-person arguments between both parties are set for Tuesday before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Montgomery, Alabama. Warren’s legal team filed its final brief with the court on April 27.

“In the Governor’s view … federal courts are powerless to do anything about [violations of the First Amendment]. Whatever else the Governor’s worldview describes, it does not reflect the law in this Circuit or this country,” the brief said.

DeSantis suspended Warren in August 2022 after he indicated he would not enforce current or potential state laws regarding abortion or transgender health care.

In January, federal District Judge Robert Hinkle said he did not have the authority to reinstate him. Warren is now appealing the ruling, which also claims the suspension violated the Florida Constitution and the U.S. Constitution.

Warren’s latest brief explains why he believes DeSantis’ arguments against reinstatement are wrong.

“In the Governor’s view, an elected official has no right to tell her constituents — and voters have no right to hear — what the official believes about the issues and policies for which she is responsible,” the brief said. “As far as the First Amendment goes, the Governor may undo elections and remove incumbents solely because he disagrees with the viewpoints they express. He may remove any state attorney purely because she is not a member of his political party.”

Warren is also petitioning the Florida Supreme Court for reinstatement through a separate lawsuit. In April, attorneys for DeSantis urged the Florida Supreme Court to toss out the petition, arguing the suspension was justified.

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