(The Center Square) – New documents have been filed in response to the corporate giant Walt Disney Company’s October filings stating the company’s First Amendment rights were violated.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ lawyers say Disney’s response “teems with majestic generalities,” and that the company must do more than generalize, and must instead identify the power that the state of Florida has used that would make an injunction against them “effectual.”
The documents go on to point out Disney failed to provide a rebuttal against DeSantis’ motion to have the case dismissed, therefore DeSantis – named defendant in the case – maintains that because “Disney’s alleged injuries are neither traceable to the State Defendants nor redressable by an injunction against them, it lacks standing.”
Disney contends that it has standing to sue the presidential candidate for reorganizing the Reedy Creek Improvement District because Disney’s “injuries” are traceable to the governor and his appointment power.
The filing argues, however, for Disney to establish its standing to sue, Disney must show that DeSantis’ appointment power actually injures the company, not just alleging that it is unconstitutional.
Disney maintains that its First Amendment rights were violated when it publicly opposed the Parental Rights in Education Bill banning teachers from instructing students in kindergarten and elementary school on gay and transgender issues.
The company says it was punished for not following “political orthodoxy,” and that this punishment included state lawmakers undoing Reedy Creek through legislation, renaming it the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and handing DeSantis the power to appoint members to the board.
In the latest court documents, Disney says the governor would take retaliatory action against the company with his board appointment powers, such as “constructing a state prison or developing a rival theme park,” and wanted the court to invalidate the reorganization laws and rescind DeSantis’ appointments to the board.
Lawyers pointed out Disney would be unable to stop the Oversight District from doing anything within the district, just by having DeSantis’ appointment powers rescinded. The filing also noted that the court is unable to order DeSantis to rescind appointments because the Oversight District board members do not serve at his pleasure.
Lawyers maintain that Disney’s problem is not with DeSantis enforcing House Bill 9B – which restructured Reedy Creek – but with “the laws’s very existence,” and once again asked for the case to be dismissed.