DeSantis Loss Gets New Filing, Disney Gets More Good News

in Disney, Walt Disney World

Ron DeSantis superimposed on EPCOT

Credit: Ron DeSantis/Disney, edited by Inside the Magic

A new court filing against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is setting up the Walt Disney Company, one of his most prominent legal opponents, with a huge advantage in its First Amendment case.

Ron DeSantis looking sad with Mickey Mouse laughing on his shoulder
Credit: NBC/Disney/Inside the Magic

Florida’s Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren is asking the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to expedite Warren v. DeSantis after it unanimously threw out a decision by a lower court and ruled that the far-right presidential candidate had violated the First Amendment by using his executive authority against an individual’s freely expressed opinion. Warren’s legal team asked the court (via Florida Politics):

“Time is of the essence in resolving this dispute. As a result of Governor Ron DeSantis’s illegal suspension of Mr. Warren, the voters of Hillsborough County have been deprived of the official whom they selected as State Attorney. An election involving millions of Floridians has been nullified. Mr. Warren, meanwhile, has been unable to serve in his post. One year remains in Mr. Warren’s term, and it should not be consumed by unnecessary delays in legal proceedings.”

Read: Disney Unveils Bold Position on ‘Woke’ Speech in Latest Court Battle With DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with the Magic Kingdom Disney World Park in the background.
Credit: Inside The Magic

In August 2022, DeSantis suspended Warren from his elected position, allegedly in political retaliation for the state attorney expressing his personal stance against various abortion laws promoted by the governor. While a court initially ruled against Warren’s lawsuit, the 11th Circuit’s surprise ruling is now being used as a reason for the case to be rushed back into court.

The lawsuit can be read here:

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Why is this of interest to Disney and its case against the governor? Primarily because the House of Mouse has already used the 11th Circuit ruling as evidence in its own First Amendment case against DeSantis and, if Warren’s case is rushed back to trial and ends positively for the state attorney, would be a massive precedent in its favor.

Disney specifically quoted a crucial part of the Warren v. DeSantis ruling:

“[F]or the same reason that the government can’t muzzle so-called ‘conservative’ speech under the guise of preventing on-campus ‘harassment’ … the state can’t exercise its coercive power to censor so-called ‘woke’ speech with which it disagrees…”

Governor DeSantis is currently being sued by Disney over the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, the special tax district where the Walt Disney World Resort is located. For decades, Disney essentially ran the area, then known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, as the de facto government for decades, until DeSantis dissolved it last year in more alleged political retaliation.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis superimposed in front of Reedy Creek
Credit: NBC, Asher Heimermann via Wikimedia Commons, edited by ITM

Related: DeSantis Accuses Disney of “Transing Kids,” Declares Victory

Disney’s case against the governor rests on the argument that DeSantis was willing to use his power as the chief state executive to punish his political enemies, something that the CFTOD board is currently trying to argue is different from the ruling that stated he used his power to punish a different political enemy. The Warren case is far from over, but the way it is currently going, it will likely be a huge boon to Disney’s case.

Inside the Magic reached out to the DeSantis office for comment, but has not heard back by the time of publishing. Mr. Warren’s representatives declined to comment for this article.

Do you think that the Warren and Disney cases are similar? Let us know in the comments below!

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