Disney opposes DeSantis’ attempt to disqualify judge in free speech lawsuit

Disney is opposing a request by Gov. Ron DeSantis to disqualify the judge overseeing the company’s First Amendment lawsuit against the Florida governor and others, which Disney says violates Florida law. Punished for speaking out against what critics called “don’t say gay.”

Disney said in court papers filed Thursday that the request by lawyers for DeSantis, who announced his candidacy. Earlier this week for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, Florida law did not meet the criteria for disqualifying a judge.

Last week, DeSantis’ attorneys filed a motion to disqualify Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, who is presiding over the case in federal court in Tallahassee. The motion said Walker dealt with free speech issues and fear of retaliation by the governor and Republican lawmakers for violating the new laws during two unrelated lawsuits pending between the DeSantis administration and Disney. Referred to the dispute.

Under Florida law, grounds for disqualification include bias and conflict of interest. In response, Disney said the judge showed no bias.

“Judges are not prohibited from accurately citing widely reported news events during oral arguments, nor if matters related to those events come before them months later,” Disney said in its filing. So they should disqualify themselves.”

Walker, who was nominated to the federal bench by President Barack Obama in 2012 and is now the district’s chief judge, has said in court filings that he will not take action in the case until he But don’t decide whether they should be disqualified.

The feud between DeSantis and Disney began last year when the company, in the face of significant pressure, publicly opposed legislation regarding lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary grades that critics called “gay.” “Don’t tell me.”

As punishment, DeSantis took over Disney World’s governing district through legislation passed by lawmakers and appointed a new board of supervisors. Before the new board came in, the company signed agreements with the old board made up of Disney supporters that stripped the new overseers of design and construction authority.

In response, the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature passed legislation allowing a board appointed by DeSantes to rescind those contracts and subject the theme park resort’s monorail system to state inspection. While this was previously done domestically.

Disney Filed a First Amendment lawsuit. The DeSantis-appointed board filed suit in state court in Orlando earlier this month against Florida’s governor and the DeSantis-appointed board in federal court in Tallahassee last month, claiming violations of free speech and contracts clauses. filed a lawsuit against Disney seeking to invalidate deals the company made with the previous board.

Previous Week, Disney announced. That it is scrapping plans to build a new campus in Central Florida and move 2,000 employees from Southern California to work in digital technology, finance and product development.

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