Judge rules for Florida's DeSantis against prosecutor for abortion stance

By Mike Scarcella (Reuters) -Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, considered a possible 2024 Republican presidential contender, will not be forced to reinstate an elected state

prosecutor he suspended over his pledge not to bring criminal cases against people seeking or providing abortions, a federal judge ruled on Friday. U.S. District Judge

Robert Hinkle in the state capital, Tallahassee, ruled against prosecutor Andrew Warren, a Democrat, in his lawsuit seeking to be reinstated as head of the state attorney's office

in Tampa. DeSantis on Aug. 4 barred Warren from performing any official "act, duty or function of public office." Hinkle found that Warren's suspension violated Florida's

state constitution, but the judge said the U.S. Constitution barred him from issuing a reinstatement order "against a state official based only on a violation of state law." The

court also wrote that "Mr. Warren's actual performance as a reform prosecutor was conduct, not speech protected by the First Amendment." Lawyers for Warren and a DeSantis

representative did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. Florida law bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The prosecutor, who won re-election in

2020 as the Hillsborough County state attorney, sued DeSantis in August, claiming that the governor retaliated unlawfully against him for political reasons after he joined

prosecutors around the country on June 24 in signing a statement vowing not to use their offices to criminalize reproductive health decisions.