Judge shoots down CDC restrictions on cruise ships amid COVID-19

Democrats and the Biden administration just suffered a crushing legal defeat at the hands of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

The Hill reports that a federal judge sided with Florida on Friday in a ruling that said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) exceeded its authority by imposing a number of sailing-related regulations amid COVID-19.

Here’s the backstory

In October 2020, the CDC issued a conditional sailing order that required cruise lines to take various steps before they were allowed to start sailing again, including implementing testing for the coronavirus and other safety measures meant to safeguard against potential outbreaks, The Hill said.

Prior to that, the cruise ship industry had been shut down as a result of the pandemic. The conditional sailing order resulted in cruise lines having to go through the CDC to get back up and running.

Gov. DeSantis and the Sunshine State filed a lawsuit in April against the CDC as well as Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra over the orders, arguing that the agency had overstepped its authority.

As The Hill noted, U.S. District Court Judge Steven Merryday, of the Middle District of Florida, handed down his ruling in the case last week.

Unprecedented moves by the CDC

Merryday ruled in favor of DeSantis, writing that the “CDC’s conditional sailing order and the implementing orders exceed the authority delegated to CDC.”

In his decision, Merryday added that “never has CDC implemented measures as extensive, disabling, and exclusive as those under review in this action.”

“Never has CDC conditioned pratique as extensively and burdensomely as the conditional sailing order; and never has CDC imposed restrictions that have summarily dismissed the effectiveness of state regulation and halted for an extended time an entire multi-billion dollar industry nationwide,” the judge said.

A “victory for Florida families”

Merryday granted the state of Florida a preliminary injunction that will, in effect, put an end to the CDC’s conditional sailing order.

According to The Hill, the injunction is set to remain in place until mid-July, when that conditional sailing order will become a non-binding guideline.

DeSantis, for his part, celebrated Merryday’s decision in a statement shared by The Hill, writing:

The CDC has been wrong all along, and they knew it. […] The CDC and the Biden Administration concocted a plan to sink the cruise industry, hiding behind bureaucratic delay and lawsuits. Today, we are securing this victory for Florida families, for the cruise industry, and for every state that wants to preserve its rights in the face of unprecedented federal overreach.

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