DeSantis warns he'll take legal fight against CDC's COVID-19 cruise ship rules to Supreme Court if necessary

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Jul 23, 2021, 6:35:22 AMJul 23
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said on Monday that his state will fight a
recent court order that left in place Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) restrictions on cruise ships amid the coronavirus
pandemic.

While addressing the recent ruling at a press conference, DeSantis said
his administration is "absolutely going to pursue" its legal options,
either in the same court that issued the new ruling or at the U.S. Supreme
Court.

A panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to grant the
temporary stay in a 2-1 decision late Saturday. The ruling occurred
shortly before a previous order blocking the rules from Judge Steven
Merryday of the Middle District of Florida was about to go in effect,
Reuters reported.

The last-minute ruling arrived months after DeSantis announced the state’s
lawsuit against the federal government, arguing that the CDC was
overstepping its authority with sailing orders and health requirements for
cruise ships.

Under the agency’s orders, cruise lines were required to adhere to a set
of testing and safety measures before being able to take to the waters
after a number of COVID-19 outbreaks were recorded on cruises last year.

In his comments in Poinciana, Fla., on Monday, DeSantis said he thinks the
state will “probably” take its legal fight “to the full 11th Circuit en
banc.”

“I think that most courts at this point have had their limit with the CDC
issuing these dictates without a firm statutory basis. So I'm confident
that we'd win on the merits at the full 11th Circuit,” he said.

“Honestly, I'm confident we'd win at the U.S. Supreme Court,” the governor
added, saying he thinks the ongoing legal battle is bigger than his
state’s case.

“One of the reasons why we did it was not just it's an important industry
for our state. We're committed to that, but it raises a bigger question,”
DeSantis said. “Can you just have one agency and the government without
Congress ever passing a law just basically shutting down an industry?
Maybe you don't care about the cruise industry, but next time, it might be
your industry.”

DeSantis's efforts, however, have been met with pushback not only from
Biden administration officials but also within the cruise industry.

Earlier this month, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings brought a lawsuit
against the state’s surgeon general over its ban on vaccine passports. The
legal challenge, the company said, was a “last resort” effort to try to
prevent the state from implementing the ban.

“One anomalous, misguided intrusion threatens to spoil N.C.L.H.’s careful
planning and force it to cancel or hobble upcoming cruises, thereby
imperiling and impairing passengers’ experiences and inflicting
irreparable harm of vast dimensions,” the company said at the time.

The editorial board of the Miami Herald, one of the largest newspapers in
the state, also didn’t mince words in a scathing piece taking aim at the
governor on Monday, calling his recent vow to continue the legal battle “a
bad look” as COVID-19 infections surge in the state.

“Maybe DeSantis has been able to blot out those horrible days in 2020 when
cruise ships with infected passengers were turned away from ports around
the world as those on board suffered and died. Well, we haven’t,” the
board wrote, calling it “even more maddening” considering that “cruise
lines such as Norwegian actually agree with the rules.”

“The governor must have a funny definition of winning if it involves
bringing more COVID to Florida. As for the CDC, well, it doesn’t sound to
us as though the agency is the one issuing the dictates here,” it added.

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/563797-desantis-warns-hell-take-
legal-fight-against-cdc-covid-19-cruise-ship
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