U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Hands DeSantis Legal Victory

U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Hands DeSantis Legal Victory

The decision deals with the vaccine passport ban.

Jackson Bakich
Jackson Bakich
October 7, 2022

The Eleventh Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals handed Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and his administration a big win this week as the court ruled that the Norwegian Cruise Line could not require passengers and crew to be vaccinated in order to sail out of a Florida port.

In April of 2021 according to the opinion, “The State of Florida sued the Centers and moved for a preliminary injunction on the ground that the conditional sailing order and the later instructions were unlawful.”

Following this injunction, DeSantis brought forth an executive order declaring that “businesses in Florida are prohibited from requiring patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-transmission recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business.”

Later in the year, the Florida Legislature passed a law that is “substantively identical” to DeSantis’ executive order.

However, Norwegian then sued the Surgeon General of Florida Joseph Ladapo, claiming that the law is “unlawful as applied” to the cruise line.

After another injunction from Norwegian was upheld, we are brought to the present. The Executive Office of the Governor released a statement to the press stating, “No one should be forced into making a medical decision – like taking the COVID vaccine – to keep their job or visit a business otherwise open to the public. We appreciate this ruling from the court and will continue fighting to keep Florida free of vaccine passports.”

The official opinion of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals states that “We agree with the Surgeon General. ‘In cases at the margin, it may sometimes be difficult to figure out what constitutes speech protected by the First Amendment. But this is not a hard case in that respect.’”

The court also states that the State of Florida is well within its rights to enact a ban of vaccine passports due to the possibility of discrimination when they write “when a legislature has reason to believe that a given group is the target of discrimination, and . . . do[es] not, as a general matter, violate the First or Fourteenth Amendments,” and therefore, do not allow business owners and “other actors in the economy and in society to deny protected persons equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law.”

Should this story develop any further, The Floridian has you covered.

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Jackson Bakich

Jackson Bakich

Born in Orlando but raised in Lake County, Florida, Jackson Bakich is currently a senior at Florida State University. Growing up in the sunshine state, Bakich co-hosted the political talk radio show "Lake County Roundtable" (WLBE) and was a frequent guest for "Lake County Sports Show" (WQBQ). Currently, he is the Sports Editor of the FSView and the co-host of "Tomahawk Talk" (WVFS), a sports talk radio program covering Florida State athletics in Tallahassee.

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