A Stetson Law professor weighs in on Andrew Warren v. Ron DeSantis

Hillsborough State Attorney prosecutor

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Last week, suspended Tampa State Attorney Andrew Warren filed a federal suit that challenges Governor Ron DeSantis’s action to suspend him.

The challenge is on First Amendment grounds. Warren says the governor used the powers of his office to suppress criticism and promote cronyism.

DeSantis’ executive order focuses on how he signed on to statements from prosecutors around the nation pledging that they won’t pursue criminal cases against people who seek or provide abortions or gender transition treatment.

On WMNF’s Tuesday Café, we spoke with a law professor about the suit, Paul Boudreaux, a Professor of Law at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport.

Professor Boudreaux said:

“The First Amendment gives everyone in America the right to free speech, to say their viewpoints. Particularly concerning political issues. And you do not lose those free speech rights simply because you’re an important government official — such as a state attorney or a governor.

“DeSantis argued in his suspension order that it’s because of his conduct — what Andrew Warren is doing or says that he plans to do. And you’re not [protected by] the First Amendment for what you do if it violates the law or does something that harms a certain interest. That is different from speech.

“And that’s going to be one thing the court is going to have to decide is whether he was fired simply for what he said, or what he has done or as DeSantis puts, what he planned to do.”

– Paul Bodreaux

Listen to the full show here:

Watch the interview here:

WMNF’s Tuesday Café

WMNF’s Tuesday Cafe airs weekly beginning at 10:06 a.m. ET.

You can listen on 88.5 FM in Tampa Bay, on wmnf.org or on the WMNF Community Radio app.

The show on August 23, 2022, began with a discussion about a pause in a proposed extension of the Florida Turnpike.

Some of the relevant documents in this case are below:

Here’s a press conference by Andrew Warren announcing his lawsuit against Ron DeSantis