Judge dismisses Disney's lawsuit against Ron DeSantis

 February 1, 2024

A federal judge in Florida has dismissed Disney's lawsuit against Governor Ron DeSantis (R).

It's a belated victory for DeSantis, who recently suspended his presidential campaign in which he positioned himself as a crusader against "woke" corporations.

The governor's battle with Disney began when the corporation came out against a Florida law that restricted teaching young children about sexuality, dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" law.

Disney sued DeSantis under the First Amendment, alleging government retaliation after he took over the company's self-governing tax district.

Judge sides with DeSantis

In a ruling Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor found the company lacked standing. 

It is not enough for Disney to allege that DeSantis acted with a "constitutionally impermissible purpose," the judge said.

"Because Disney seeks injunctive relief, it must allege an imminent future injury, and it has not alleged facts showing that any imminent future appointments will contribute to its harm," he wrote.

Disney, DeSantis respond

Disney vowed to fight the ruling, warning it would set a bad precedent for free speech.

"This is an important case with serious implications for the rule of law, and it will not end here," the company said.

"If left unchallenged, this would set a dangerous precedent and give license to states to weaponize their official powers to punish the expression of political viewpoints they disagree with."

On the other hand, the governor's team hailed the decision as a necessary check on Disney's power.

"The days of Disney controlling its own government and being placed above the law are long gone," said Jeremy Redfern, a spokesperson for the governor.

Belated victory...

DeSantis' feud with Disney raised his profile ahead of his ill-fated run for the presidency last year.

The governor positioned himself as a protecter of children targeted by an insidious agenda, even as fellow Republicans bashed his efforts as a threat to Florida jobs and a betrayal of "small government" principles.

By the time he launched his 2024 campaign, DeSantis had come to be seen as a conservative champion and a serious political threat to President Trump, who dismissed the Disney battle as a "political STUNT."

In the end, DeSantis failed to meet the sky-high expectations of his campaign, and he quit the race in January. However, he is sure to tout this judge's ruling as a victory for his brand of cultural conservatism - with rumors that he has his eyes on the White House in 2028.
" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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