Four former U.S. attorneys general filed a brief Thursday at the Florida Supreme Court backing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to suspend Orlando-area State Attorney Monique Worrell.
The friend-of-the-court brief, filed by former Attorney General Edwin Meese, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Attorney General William Barr, accused Worrell of “prosecutorial abdication of duties” and not enforcing “entire categories of laws that did not comport with her policy preferences.”
DeSantis on Aug. 9 issued an executive order suspending Worrell, a Democrat who was elected in 2020 in the 9th Judicial Circuit, which is made up of Orange and Osceola counties.
Worrell filed a petition at the Supreme Court in an attempt to get her job back and argued that DeSantis did not have a legal basis for the suspension.
The four former attorneys general, who worked in Republican administrations, said in Thursday’s brief that the Supreme Court should reject the petition.
“Ms. Worrell failed to protect the people of the Ninth Circuit by outright refusing to prosecute broad swaths of cases in direct contravention of the law,” the brief said. “That most certainly constitutes neglect and incompetence at such a level to justify — and, indeed, to require — the governor’s suspension order.”
But Worrell has disputed allegations that she did not properly carry out her job.
“Ms. Worrell was elected to serve as state attorney, not the governor,” the petition said. “Mere disagreement between a governor and a state attorney about where within the lawful range of discretion that discretion should be exercised falls far short of the constitutionally required showing of neglect of duty or incompetence.”
The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Dec. 6.
DeSantis has also suspended another elected Democratic state attorney, Andrew Warren.
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