CV NEWS FEED // A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed The Walt Disney Company’s (“Disney”) lawsuit against Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
U.S. District Court Judge Allen Winsor granted the DeSantis administration’s motion to dismiss the case on grounds that Disney lacked both standing and jurisdiction to sue, FOX Business reported.
“At the end of the day, under the law of this Circuit, ‘courts shouldn’t look to a law’s legislative history to find an illegitimate motivation for an otherwise constitutional statute,’” Winsor stated in his ruling. “Because that is what Disney seeks here, its claim fails as a matter of law.”
Observers marked the ruling as a major victory for DeSantis and a major defeat for the $177-billion media conglomerate.
After receiving news of the suit’s dismissal, DeSantis remarked: “I would like to see an accounting from some of the people who last year were trying to say that Disney had somehow ‘outmaneuvered’ Florida.”
“You heard a lot of squawking when they were able to use it to attack Florida or try to attack me,” he added. “I don’t hear very much now that the case was summarily dismissed.”
DeSantis Press Secretary Jeremy Redfern wrote in a statement posted to X (formerly Twitter): “[T]he Corporate Kingdom is over. The days of Disney controlling its own government and being placed above the law are long gone.”
“The federal court’s decision made it clear that Governor DeSantis was correct,” Redfern added. “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.”
Disney meanwhile vowed to appeal the case.
“[I]t will not end here,” the corporation announced in a statement:
If left unchallenged, this would set a dangerous precedent and give license to states to weaponize their official powers to punish the expression of political viewpoints they disagree with. We are determined to press forward with our case.
DeSantis reacted to Disney’s threat of an appeal.
“I think that’s a mistake,” he said, suggesting Disney should “move on.” He highlighted that Florida is the “state that is number one for business in America right now,” adding: “Is it so bad that you actually have to live under the same laws as everybody else including their competitors?”
“This is not a matter of high principle for them,” he stressed. “This is a matter of them trying to claw back special privileges that they were never entitled to in the first place.”
Disney sued DeSantis after he signed a bill abolishing the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) in April 2022.
As CatholicVote previously reported, the legislation “came shortly after Disney openly embraced far-left policies and publicly campaigned against Florida’s successful effort to promote parental rights in education.”
In its unsuccessful lawsuit, Disney had claimed that by spearheading the effort to dissolve the special district the governor had “retaliated” against it for its recent embrace of the political left and the LGBTQ movement.
However, critics of Disney assert that the RCID granted it unchecked special privileges not given to any other corporate entity.
CatholicVote’s December report further noted that the RCID was created by a 1967 state law. The law established “the almost-40 square miles surrounding Disney’s then-planned Florida theme park as an autonomous local government.”
A November audit of the RCID concluded that its creation had “facilitated the most egregious exhibition of corporate cronyism in modern American history.”
The auditors pointed out that Disney “clinched near-total governing authority over the special district.”
“That authority was so unchecked that Disney attained the power to, among other exceptional privileges, create and direct not just its own fire and police departments, but also, if it chose, construct a nuclear power plant,” the audit found.