UNITED STATES NEWS

DeSantis attorneys ask federal judge to dismiss Disney’s free speech lawsuit

Dec 12, 2023, 6:05 AM

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Attorneys for Gov. Ron DeSantis are asking a federal judge on Tuesday to dismiss a free speech lawsuit filed by Disney after the Florida governor took over Walt Disney World’s governing district in retaliation for the company opposing a state law that banned classroom lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades.

The planned hearing is the first time oral arguments are being made in federal court in Tallahassee over Disney’s claim that DeSantis used state powers to punish the entertainment giant in violation of the First Amendment. The governor’s attorneys are arguing that the case should be dismissed, claiming DeSantis is immune since he doesn’t enforce any of the laws that removed supervision of the government from Disney supporters.

Any decision U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor makes could determine who controls the governing district that performs municipal services such as planning, mosquito control and firefighting in the roughly 40 square miles (100 square kilometers) in central Florida that make up Disney World. Winsor was appointed to the bench by President Donald Trump in 2019.

Disney and DeSantis appointees also are battling in a state court lawsuit in Orlando over control of the district.

DeSantis has argued that the federal lawsuit should be dismissed since Disney lacks standing to file it. Neither the governor nor the secretary of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, who is also named in the lawsuit, have the power to enforce the laws which were passed to revamp the Disney World government and shift control of the district’s board from Disney supporters to the governor’s appointees, according to DeSantis.

Also named in the federal lawsuit are the the district’s board members who DeSantis appointed earlier this year.

In asking the judge to deny DeSantis’ motion to dismiss, Disney has accused DeSantis and his appointees of using political institutions to punish disfavored viewpoints.

“That premise is not just legally unsupported, it is profoundly un-American,” Disney said in court papers.

The feud between DeSantis and Disney started last year after the entertainment giant publicly opposed the state’s so-called don’t say gay law. The law was championed by DeSantis, who is running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. In retaliation, DeSantis and Republican legislators earlier this year passed legislation which took over the district Disney had controlled for more than five decades and installed five board members loyal to the governor.

Since the takeover, more than 10% of the district’s 370-employees have left their jobs, with many saying in exit interviews that the district has been politicized and is now permeated by cronyism.

United States News

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip walk through a mak...

Associated Press

Rifts seem to appear between Israel’s political and military leadership over conduct of the Gaza war

In a rare public rift between the country’s leadership, an Israeli army spokesman appeared to question the goal of destroying Hamas.

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Probe finds carelessness caused Jewish student group’s omission from New Jersey high school yearbook

An investigation into how and why a Jewish student group was erased from a New Jersey high school yearbook found the omission was caused by negligence and carelessness, but was not done on purpose or out of malice, the school district announced Wednesday. East Brunswick Public Schools hired a law firm to investigate after the […]

8 hours ago

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday, June 18, 2024, that he wants to restrict students' ...

Associated Press

California governor wants to restrict smartphone usage in schools

Gavin Newsom announced he wants to restrict students' usage of phones during the school day, citing the mental health risks of social media.

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Shooting in Philadelphia wounds 7 people, police say

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Seven people were wounded Wednesday evening in a shooting in Philadelphia, police said. The shooting happened just before 6:30 p.m. in North Philadelphia. The victims include a 19-year-old man who was shot in the leg, a 31-year-old woman shot in the hand, a 23-year-old man shot in the buttock, and two women […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Boaters find $1 million of cocaine floating off Florida Keys

MIAMI (AP) — Recreational boaters found $1 million worth of cocaine floating in the ocean off the Florida Keys. Samuel Briggs II, the acting chief patrol agent of the U.S. Border Patrol, wrote about the find in a social media post on X. Briggs posted video Monday night showing the wrapped packages of cocaine being […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Police credit New Yorkers for suspect’s arrest in the rape of a 13-year-old girl

NEW YORK (AP) — Residents of a New York City neighborhood were praised for their role in the arrest of an Ecuadorian accused of raping a 13-year-old girl, a crime that the city’s police commissioner said “shocked our entire city.” Christian Geovanny Inga-Landi, 25, was arrested early Tuesday outside a deli in Corona, Queens. He […]

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

DeSantis attorneys ask federal judge to dismiss Disney’s free speech lawsuit