The legal battle between the Walt Disney Company and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues.
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Judging the Judge
Last week, Governor DeSantis requested that Judge Mark Walker recuse himself from overseeing the Disney v DeSantis case due to his previous statements regarding a state retailing against Disney. Attorneys representing Governor DeSantis and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District stated, “an appearance of partiality that would lead a reasonable observer to question whether the court is predisposed to ruling that the state retaliated against Disney.”
As a result, the judge paused the current case to review the request.
As of Thursday, May 25, the Walt Disney Company lawyers have argued that Judge Mark Walker’s comments do “not prescribe the hair-trigger disqualification standard defendants suggest.”
The judge overseeing Disney's lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis and his appointees should not disqualify himself from the case, lawyers for Disney argued in a document filed late Thursday.https://t.co/MayRrlcq9n
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) May 25, 2023
A Yearlong Battle
The current lawsuit comes amid the year-long feud between the Walt Disney Company and Governor Ron DeSantis.
It originally began in 2022 with the bill that was passed titled the Parental Rights in Education (known by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill). After remaining silent for a while, Disney did take a stand opposing the bill (now law) in the state of Florida.
The result of their pushback against the state government has turned into a year-long battle putting the House of Mouse against the state of Florida, where Walt Disney World resides. It has resulted in lawsuits filed by Disney against Governor DeSantis and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and a lawsuit filed by Governor DeSantis’ board against Disney.
The Disney lawsuit argues, in part, that the governor and Florida lawmakers retaliated against the company due to voicing its opinion on the bill (now law) which the company argues was within their first amendment right.
Walt Disney World has since lost the ability to self-govern itself in the state of Florida through the Reedy Creek Improvement District.
In addition, the Walt Disney Company has canceled a $1 billion project in Lake Nona. It was a plan to build an employee campus and relocate many of its staff from California to Florida. Although there has been some debate as to whether or not the cancellation of this project was due to the Walt Disney Company’s finances versus the feud with the state of Florida, one hast to think its fight with the Florida government played at least a small part in the decision.
RELATED: Disney Shocks By Announcing Move OUT of Florida
Pushback From All Sides
In related news, Governor Ron DeSantis just announced his plans to run for president in 2024. It remains to be seen how this will affect his feud with the Walt Disney Company. The fight between the state of Florida and the House is Mouse has garnered much criticism from Democrats, Republicans, and elected officials both current and former, including former President Donald Trump.
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Who will “win” between DeSantis and Disney? We may not know that answer for another year (or four).