Judge Gives Ron DeSantis a New Victory Over Disney

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Judge Gives Ron DeSantis a New Victory Over Disney

A federal judge has dismissed Disney‘s lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

The Wednesday ruling is the latest development in an almost two-year-long battle between Disney and DeSantis, which began in March 2022 when Disney openly criticized DeSantis and Florida’s Parental Rights in Education legislation, known by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The feud escalated last year when DeSantis seized the administrative area of Disney World in Orlando, known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District. He appointed new managers for the area, ending Disney‘s decades-long autonomy.

When DeSantis introduced the legislation last April, he said he would consider building a prison or a rival amusement park next to Disney World. The comments were reported as a joke, but Disney subsequently filed a lawsuit against the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD), saying that DeSantis’ actions and comments were evidence that he was trying to undermine the company’s operations.

ron desantis disney lawsuit dismissed
Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis smiles while listening to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds speak at a “Countdown to Caucus” event on January 13 in West Des Moines. On Wednesday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought…

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Disney filed the lawsuit in hopes that a federal judge would find the land seizure unconstitutional, but on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor dismissed the motion.

“This case was resolved on motions to dismiss. Plaintiff’s claims against the Governor and the Department Secretary are dismissed without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction,” the dismissal claim read. “Plaintiff’s claims against the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board members are dismissed on the merits for failure to state a claim.”

Jeremy Redfern, DeSantis’ press secretary, provided Newsweek with a statement on Winsor’s decision.

Redfern wrote that as DeSantis stated when he signed the legislation that gave him the ability to appoint a board to run Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, “the Corporate Kingdom is over. The days of Disney controlling its own government and being placed above the law are long gone.”

He continued: “The federal court’s decision made it clear that Governor DeSantis was correct: Disney is still just one of many corporations in the state, and they do not have a right to their own special government. In short—as long predicted, case dismissed.”

The ruling totals 17 pages, in which the judge outlines why Disney lacked evidence and didn’t meet the necessary standards for the lawsuit.

“In short, Disney lacks standing to sue the Governor or the Secretary, and its claims against the CFTOD Defendants fail on the merits because ‘when a statute is facially constitutional, a plaintiff cannot bring a free-speech challenge by claiming that the lawmakers who passed it acted with a constitutionally impermissible purpose,'” the ruling said.

The dismissal is a significant win for the Republican governor, who withdrew from the presidential nomination race earlier this week and endorsed Donald Trump.

However, DeSantis’ victory had some people on social media raising questions about Trump, who has had to deal with civil lawsuits from New York state’s attorney general and writer E. Jean Carroll. Trump has denied any wrongdoing in these cases, as well as the four criminal ones against him.

“It’s refreshing to see that the future of the Republican Party actually wins his cases,” one person posted on X (formerly Twitter).

🚨NEW🚨 Disney just lost their Federal case against Ron DeSantis.

It’s refreshing to see that the future of the Republican Party actually wins his cases. pic.twitter.com/PyhjBMgI19

— Dustin Grage 🇺🇸 (@GrageDustin) January 31, 2024

“Ron DeSantis just beat Disney in federal court. Donald Trump lost $83 million to E Jean Carroll. We really, really messed up as party,” another person posted.

Ron DeSantis just beat Disney in federal court.

Donald Trump lost $83 million to E Jean Carroll.

We really, really messed up as party.

— Peter Henlein (@SwissWatchGuy) January 31, 2024

Update 1/31/24, 3:45 p.m. ET: This story was updated with additional information and background.

Update 1/31/24, 4:40 p.m. ET: This story was updated to include a statement from DeSantis’ press secretary.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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