Politico's January 13, 2023 DeSantis administration wants to keep some things private includes the following:

Keep pushing— In a line of recent cases, including one that goes before a Leon County circuit judge this morning involving the migrant relocation program, both public and private attorneys representing the Republican governor keep trying to get a ruling that DeSantis is shielded by executive privilege. The goal, of course, being so that his office does not have to turn over information to those challenging his actions in court.

Not here— Obviously executive privilege is something that has been a subject of a lot of litigation at the federal level, including in recent fights involving former President Donald Trump, but it’s not recognized in Florida. Yet that hasn’t stopped DeSantis’ lawyers from trying to get a judge to say that it should. (Hmm.)

Examples — In a late December court filing, the governor’s legal team argued it should not have to turn over documents requested by state Sen. Jason Pizzo in his lawsuit challenging DeSantis’ contentious migrant relocation program. And one reason they cited was “executive privilege.”

From the filing — “The executive privilege shields the (Executive Office of the Governor) from inquiries into consultants, directions or discussions among its high-ranking officials or with other executive branch agencies,” attorneys for the governor wrote. “Governor DeSantis and his staff must be free to openly and critically discuss ideas and policies without fear that their discussions could become public.”


Response — Mark Herron, the lawyer representing Pizzo, in his response said the assertion by DeSantis’ lawyers runs “contrary to the broad openness of public records in Florida and is contradicted by the Florida Constitution itself.” Herron added that there was no support for the argument that separation of powers overrules the constitutional provision that records are “open for inspection by the public.” Stay tuned.

  • The phrase "but it's not recognized in Florida" leaves open the possibility that the same concept that allows a US president to keep some discussions private might be recognized in other states.
  • The phrase "and is contradicted by the Florida Constitution itself" suggests that a treat of state constitutions might be beneficial within an answer.

I'd like to ask the following:

Question: Have other US state governors tried to invoke executive privilege previously, or is Florida's DeSantis the first? If so, are some successful?

1 Answer 1


Q: Have other US state governors tried to invoke executive privilege previously, or is Florida's DeSantis the first? If so, are some successful?

From AP News, January 13, 2020 —

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s administration has invoked executive privilege multiple times to withhold documents from public records requests, even though such privilege is not defined in the state’s law, nor mentioned in its constitution.

Supreme courts in a handful of states have upheld a governor’s right to claim executive privilege in some circumstances.

Washington and Oklahoma are also mentioned as upholding executive privilege.

  • Your source refers to the states supreme court ruling that the governor had the right. That implies to me that this 'executive privilege's' was a state matter, a governor claiming that they didn't have to do something that state laws or constitution required. Claiming executive privlidge protects a state governor from federal legal requirements is a very different claim. I don't think those are comparable.
    – dsollen
    Jan 18, 2023 at 22:02

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