A federal appeals court, which previously sided with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) amid Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R-FL) battle against the federal health agency over the vaccination rules it is imposing on the cruise industry, reversed its decision, ultimately siding with the state over the CDC’s No-Sail Orders.
The saga between DeSantis and the CDC began in April after the governor announced the lawsuit over the federal health agency’s restrictions on the cruise industry — a major economic driver in Florida. DeSantis’s administration scored a victory in June after a federal district court in Tampa issued a preliminary injunction favoring DeSantis. The court concluded the CDC’s rules on the cruise industry “are likely unconstitutional and overstepping their legal authority.” But last weekend, prior to the lower court’s ruling, which would have taken effect July 18, the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit voted 2-1, issuing a temporary stay of the injunction.
Notably, the judges who voted for the stay were Clinton appointee Charles Wilson and Obama appointee Jill Pryor. Judge Elizabeth Branch is a Trump appointee who dissented.
“It is unacceptable that a federal agency would single out and lock down an entire industry indefinitely,” Lauren Cassedy, director of Public Affairs for Attorney General Ashley Moody, told Breitbart News on Monday in response to the ruling.
“We are currently reviewing all available legal options and will continue to fight on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Floridians who rely on the cruise industry for their livelihoods,” she added.
On Friday, Florida “filed an Emergency Application to Vacate the Eleventh Circuit’s Stay on the Preliminary Injunction.” That same day, the Eleventh Circuit reversed its earlier decision, allowing the cruise industry to resume operations without adhering to the CDC’s restrictions, including what effectively amounts to vaccine passports, which are illegal in the Sunshine State:
The panel sua sponte VACATES its order of July 17, 2021, and substitutes the following order in its place:
The appellants’ “Team Sesitive Motion for Stay Pending Appeal and Administrative Stay” is DENIED because appellants failed to demonstrate an entitlement to a stay pending appeal. See Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 434 (2009).
There are four factors a court considers under the Nken standard. One is if the appellants have a substantial likelihood of ultimately winning on the merits. The appellate court’s reversing course suggests that upon further review, even this liberal panel decided that DeSantis is right on the law here.
“The importance of this case extends beyond the cruise industry. From here on out a federal bureau will be on thin legal and constitutional ice if and when it attempts to exercise such sweeping authority that is not explicitly delineated by law,” he added.
Christina Pushaw, press secretary for the governor, told Breitbart News that the impact of the victory “extends beyond any one industry.”
“This is a win for common sense and rule of law. Unelected bureaucrats don’t have any right to prohibit people from doing their jobs or enjoying their lives, and vaccine passports are an invasion of privacy,” she said. “Yet again, Governor DeSantis stood up for Floridians against an unconstitutional bureaucratic power grab — and won.”
In May, DeSantis signed a measure banning the use of vaccine passports in the state. That law went into effect on July 1:
“It’s the CDC who is mandating, effectively, a vaccine passport which is discriminatory because we have 100 million-plus Americans who have recovered from COVID. They have immunity,” DeSantis told Breitbart News during an exclusive interview in June.
“Many of them are not getting vaccinated because they’re already immune. So we don’t believe that that’s good policy to allow that,” Desantis explained.
“Just understand. If the CDC would take their boot off the necks of the industry, they would sail from Florida. This is not as much a disagreement between Florida and the cruise lines as it is between [the] CDC. So cruise lines are kind of caught in the middle, because [the] CDC has issued all these mandates saying, ‘OK, you can finally sail, but you got to do all this stuff.’ So they’re in the position where they have the feds coming down on them and saying they have to do it one way,” he added.
Florida is home to some of the busiest ports in the world — Port Miami, Port Canaveral, and Port Everglades.
The case is Florida v. Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, No. 21-12243, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.