Judge Rules In Florida Lawsuit Against DeSantis

Oh boy! We have big news in the world of politics and entertainment: the legal battle between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Disney was suing DeSantis and the board he appointed to oversee what was once known as Walt Disney World’s special district, now renamed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. Disney alleged that the governor infringed on the company’s First Amendment rights. This all sparked off after Disney foolishly decided to go dive into politics over Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” law, which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

After Disney’s opposition, DeSantis and the Florida legislature swung into action. They passed a law initially intended to dissolve Disney’s special district entirely. However, they later shifted gears, overhauling the district by replacing its board – which used to be elected primarily by Disney as the main landowner – with DeSantis appointees.

Disney was asking the court to revert the district to its pre-DeSantis state. On the flip side, DeSantis and his new board are asking the court to toss out Disney’s lawsuit. They’re arguing that Disney’s claim of First Amendment rights infringement is baseless and that the entertainment giant doesn’t have the legal standing to bring the case.

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor ruled that Disney, indeed, doesn’t have the standing to sue DeSantis. He added that Disney can’t sue the board members either, as they were appointed under a constitutional statute. The Judge also noted that free-speech challenges can’t be brought “by claiming that the lawmakers who passed it acted with a constitutionally impermissible purpose.”

Disney and the DeSantis-appointed board are still locked in a battle in state court but this was a huge ruling. The board has countersued Disney over a development agreement signed with the previous board. This agreement essentially diminished much of the board’s power. The case, which seeks to void this agreement, is still ongoing after a judge refused Disney’s request to dismiss it in July. The next hearing isn’t scheduled until March 2024, so we’re in for a long haul.

I know everybody likes to dunk on DeSantis lately, but the guy is a crafty lawyer and a great lawmaker. He’d be a hell of an attorney general of the United States.

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