A Florida judge Friday gave Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) legal team until Monday to respond to parents who say he does not have the legal authority to ban the use of face masks in schools.
The Florida-based News 13 reported on the development:
Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper emphasized in a Zoom hearing that he plans to move and rule quickly in this “expedited case.”
The lawsuit says the governor’s order preventing school districts from requring masks violates Florida’s constitution, which grants power to local school boards to operate, control and supervise classes within their districts.
Michael Abel, defense counsel for DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Board of Education, told Cooper he thinks the lawsuit “exhibits some significant deficiencies as a threshold matter and that we believe would result in dismissal of the case.”
“These are issues involving standing, whether the complaint presents non-justiciable political questions, whether the complaint as framed would seek relief that violates the separation of powers doctrine.” Cooper said.
“Cooper gave plaintiffs until noon Tuesday to respond to the defense’s motion to dismiss,” News 13 reported. “He said he’d rule on the motion on Thursday. If he denies the motion, he’ll hear the case via Zoom on Aug. 23-25, he said.”
“This is an expedited proceeding, and this doesn’t mean I’m going to sit around for two or three weeks trying to make my mind up,” Cooper said at the hearing. “I’m going to read what you write, I’m going to hear your arguments, I’m going to consider it.”
News 13 said the parents who sued live in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Orange, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Alachua counties.
The outlet also reported that two Florida school districts have defied DeSantis and are requiring masks in school. And Orange, Hillsborough, and Seminole counties are requiring students to wear masks, with an opt-out ability for parents.
The case is McCarthy v. DeSantis, No. 2021-ca-1382 in the Second Circuit Court for Leon County Florida.
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