Attorneys for Gov. DeSantis, Legislature file emergency motion to halt abortion amendment ruling

DeSantis amendments
Lawyers working for Attorney General Ashley Moody asserted that Circuit Court Judge John C. Cooper had no legal authority to make his ruling.

Lawyers representing the Gov. Ron DeSantis administration and the Legislature have filed an emergency motion asking an appeals court to put on hold a ruling ordering state economists to come up with a new description for the abortion access amendment that will be on the November ballot.

Circuit Court Judge John C. Cooper agreed with the group backing the amendment that the current wording of the financial impact statement that will appear on the ballot alongside the initiative is misleading. He gave the Financial Impact Estimating Conference 15 days to draw up a revised statement.

The state, however, is appealing that decision. And the motion submitted by lawyers working for Attorney General Ashley Moody ripped into Cooper and asserted that he had no legal authority to make his ruling.

“The circuit court has unlawfully injected itself into the citizen initiative process,” states the motion, filed Tuesday with the 1st District Court of Appeal.

The motion also says Cooper had flouted controlling precedents and that he then “abused” his discretion when he denied the state’s motion for an automatic stay while it pursued the appeal.

Florida’s Deputy Solicitor General had made a similar argument before Cooper about whether the Judge had jurisdiction over the case. But Cooper pointed to other rulings that he said did grant him the ability to weigh in on the dispute.

Voters will decide this November whether to approve an amendment that guarantees access to abortion up to the point of viability, which is generally around the 24th week. State law requires economists working for the Legislature and the state to draw a financial impact statement for all proposed initiatives.

Floridians Protecting Freedom, the group sponsoring the amendment, challenged the wording of the financial impact statement because it had been drawn up late last year. That was months before the Florida Supreme Court ruled in a legal challenge to Florida’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks. The April 1 court ruling triggered a ban on abortion after six weeks that took effect one month later.

On Monday, the Financial Impact Estimating Conference noticed two meetings in July to consider revisions to the proposed financial impact statement. But this time frame is beyond the 15-day deadline that Cooper gave the conference.

The current financial impact statement being challenged says the costs associated with the amendment cannot be determined because of “several possible outcomes” related to the lawsuits over the 15-week ban that have now been settled.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


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  • Michael K

    June 12, 2024 at 12:39 pm

    For crying out loud.

    We, the people, have every right to claim the freedom that the governor and this legislature are taking away from us.

    This is what authoritarianism looks like, not what freedom looks like.

  • Richard Paula

    June 12, 2024 at 1:52 pm

    Ashley Moody would have been just the one to prosecute Dred Scott in that horrible United States Supreme Court case from the mid Nineteenth Century. She would have enjoyed the result which heralded the worst division ever in the United States. She is the darling of DeSantis and the far right legislators in Florida who are out of touch with the needs and wants of the people of Twenty First Century.

  • Dont Say FLA

    June 13, 2024 at 1:38 pm

    2023: Leave abortion to the states
    2024: No, wait, don’t do that.

    If Assley is still confused, fire her dumb ass and get somebody who can read.

  • Cindy

    June 18, 2024 at 7:35 pm

    Hands are off…. viability. 1st trimester and 2nd is mercy enough for me. Most likely 4 weeks tops
    Do not have casual it’s a mess

Comments are closed.


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