Trump and DeSantis, two Florida men, still at it
Trump is fighting the Mar-a-Lago search, while DeSantis is fighting to remove elected Democrats from office.
Before the week is out, we will be in September.
How about that? (Truly, I can’t believe it, and so I’m just going to ignore it for now.)
But, there are some things we can’t — or at least, shouldn’t — ignore. So, let’s go.
IF IT’S MONDAY, IT’S … FLORIDA NEWS: On Sept. 19, the federal court in Tallahassee will hold a hearing on Andrew Warren’s request to be reinstated as the Hillsborough County State Attorney.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who ousted Warren — technically, suspended him — on Aug. 4, will have to respond to Warren’s arguments for a preliminary injunction on Friday. As part of that filing, DeSantis will also be arguing that the case should be dismissed. The next Friday, Sept. 9, Warren will respond to DeSantis’s arguments.
Then, per US District Judge Robert Hinkle’s order, arguments will be held at 9 a.m. Sept. 19.
While that was getting worked out, a group “former prosecutors, Attorneys General, judges, United States Attorneys and federal officials, and current and former law enforcement officials” — including more than a dozen former Florida officials — filed an amici curiae brief (friends of the court brief, basically, nonparties who have something to add to the arguments) in the case supporting Warren’s reinstatement:
This case presents issues of national importance. Amici, who bring decades of experience from judicial, law enforcement, and criminal justice leadership roles, recognize the critical role of preserving prosecutorial discretion and the need to insulate prosecutors from improper outside political pressures. The ripple effects of this action—and the potential chilling effect on other elected prosecutors who seek to carry out their ethical and professional duties and be transparent about how they do so—are of interest to all who care about the integrity of our justice system nationwide.
Recall that DeSantis, in large part, suspended Warren due to two “joint statements” that he signed on to — one defending transgender care for minors and one defending abortion care. To that, they state, “we should encourage this type of open and clear articulation of priorities, not penalize a leader for his transparency.”
Later, they note the anti-democratic aspect of this — something I have written about at MSNBC. In part, they state:
The proper way for the Governor to express a disagreement with State Attorney Warren’s exercise of discretion and public safety priorities is to ask voters to support a new State Attorney in the next election—not by divesting voters of their most important and solemn obligation in a democracy: their participation in free and fair elections to choose who represents and serves them.
DeSantis isn’t done, either.
On Aug. 26, he suspended four Broward County School Board members, replacing the four elected women with four men of his choosing. In his suspension order, he based the decision on a state grand jury report following the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
More to come on this at Law Dork as the Warren case proceeds.
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TRUMP’S LEGAL … EFFORTS: Former President Donald Trump has a legal team of sorts, working on responding to the search warrant executed on Aug. 8 at Mar-a-Lago.
The latest news is that over the weekend, the Trump appointee (who they went to last week) issued an order that she was inclined to appoint a special master to address concerns raised by the Trump team about the Justice Department’s review of the materials seized in the search.
But she didn’t actually appoint a special master, or take any action, really, which makes sense, because the federal government hasn’t formally been served the filing, let alone had a chance to respond to it.
Trump’s team has already — at US District Judge Aileen Cannon’s request — filed a supplementary document in the matter. (She basically told them they hadn’t given her enough information to consider the matter on their first attempt.)
In the weekend order, Cannon asked for the United States — again, despite not yet having been served — to file a response to the Trump filings on Tuesday, in advance of a hearing scheduled for Thursday.
But, as of now, nothing has changed — so DOJ can continue reviewing any seized evidence under the process that they have been using since Aug. 8.
It’s not clear why it took this long for Trump’s lawyers to ask for this, or how relevant it will be at this point, even if Cannon decides on or following Thursday that she can rule on Trump’s request and if she sides with him.
As I wrote at MSNBC last week:
In short, the Trump lawyers were completely unprepared for a search that seemed inevitable, or at the least likely; they took two weeks to respond to it; when they did so, it was an incredibly poor start; and, regardless, they might end up being too late.
Read the column here, and then get ready for another week of legal shenanigans.
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IN OTHER NO-OZ: An update from Pennsylvania.