July 27, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A federal appeals court handed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) a big win Friday by reversing a prior decision which had favored COVID-19 mandates imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In its reversal, the court instead sided with the state of Florida and its ban on vaccine passports.
The reversal came just hours after DeSantis submitted an emergency application to the U.S. Supreme Court, CNBC reported, and marks a crucial victory in the national legal battle against vaccine mandates.
The decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is the latest move in a tense confrontation between the CDC and the state of Florida going back as far as April, with the CDC imposing crushing COVID-19 restrictions on the cruise line industry, a major income-generator in the state.
“I’m glad to see the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reverse its prior decision and free the cruise lines from unlawful CDC mandates, which effectively mothballed the industry for more than a year,” DeSantis said in a statement July 23.
Florida’s five most popular ports, including Port Canaveral, Port Miami, and Port Everglades, account for “60 percent of embarkations at all U.S. ports,” according to a recent report by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), as well as “60 percent of the total employment of all cruise lines throughout the United States.”
But DeSantis emphasized that the victory in the case is not isolated to one industry or one state.
“The importance of this case extends beyond the cruise industry,” DeSantis said. “From here on out a federal bureau will be on thin legal and constitutional ice if and when it attempts to exercise such sweeping authority that is not explicitly delineated by law.”
As reported by Breitbart News in a July 24 article, “[t]he saga between DeSantis and the CDC began in April after the governor announced the lawsuit over the federal health agency’s restrictions on the cruise industry.”
DeSantis’ first victory in the skirmish was scored in June when a Tampa federal district court issued a preliminary injunction in the Republican governor’s favor, saying the CDC’s COVID-19 rules were “likely unconstitutional and overstepping their legal authority.”
That victory was threatened however, when just days before the Tampa court’s ruling was set to take effect last weekend, the three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to issue a temporary stay of the injunction July 17.
On July 23, Florida moved aggressively in response to the stay, filing an Emergency Application with the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate the stay on the preliminary injunction.
In the application, Florida argued that the vital cruise line industry has been crippled for 16 months under unlawful CDC mandates.
According to CLIA, the industry was responsible for the creation of roughly 159,000 jobs and $8.1 billion in revenue throughout Florida in 2019.
Amid crushing lockdowns and restrictions last year, however, an estimated $1 billion in income has been lost by the U.S. as a whole for every month that cruises remain grounded.
According to a BizJournals report late last year, the “suspension of voyages” in Florida and throughout the U.S. would cost “about $14.1 billion in direct expenditures and $32.7 billion in total expenditures” by the end of 2020.
Meanwhile, national cruise line job losses by the end of the year totaled “96,500 in direct employment and 254,400 in total employment.”
Florida’s application to the Supreme Court noted that “[f]rom March to October 2020, the CDC categorically banned cruising.”
“In October 2020, the agency supplanted its ban with a ‘Conditional Sailing Order,’” the application continues, saying the CDC order “purported to reserve to the CDC the power to issue ‘technical instructions’ — which the CDC has wielded by posting an ever-changing array of requirements on its website, some of which purport to modify even central provisions of that Order, all without notice and comment.”
One such requirement imposed by the CDC forced cruise ships to “run self-funded experiments called ‘test voyages.’”
The CDC then offered a loophole to the expensive imposition, unilaterally updating its order after COVID shots became available to “allow cruise ships to avoid the test-sail requirement and many of the Order’s other requirements by agreeing to vaccinate 95% of their crew and sail with 95% vaccinated passengers.”
The CDC loophole which incentivized the cruise line industry to require vaccine passports contradicts Florida law. In SB 2006, which took effect July 1, DeSantis explicitly outlawed vaccine passports in his state for industries in both the public and private sector.
On the same day Florida’s application to the U.S. Supreme Court was filed, the 11th Circuit reversed its prior decision, giving the green light for the cruise line industry to “resume operations without adhering to the CDC’s restrictions,” as reported by Breitbart.
In a 2-1 decision, the judges vacated their July 17 order, denying the CDC’s “time sensitive motion for stay pending appeal,” on the grounds that the CDC “failed to demonstrate an entitlement to a stay.”
Major cruise lines are now making announcements about upcoming cruise launches, with Disney announcing its cruises will start up in early August.
In light of DeSantis’s recent win against CDC orders, Disney says it is “not requiring vaccinations for guests on sailings departing from Florida” but will require COVID-19 tests prior to embarking. Guests can skip COVID-19 testing, however, if they elect to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
This just in! Beginning Aug. 9, the Disney Dream will kick off our long-awaited return to cruising with three- and four-night cruises from Port Canaveral, FL. Check out this video for important details to plan your next #DisneyCruiseLine vacation! https://t.co/ziglPRXcei pic.twitter.com/sKMPZeunXl
— Disney Cruise Line (@DisneyCruise) July 23, 2021
Florida’s victory will be an important precedent for current and future lawsuits related to vaccine passports. Many institutions and industries have begun aggressively incentivizing vaccination or outright requiring it, threatening the unvaccinated with termination or loss of privileges.
In Indiana, college students are appealing a federal judge’s ruling which denied their request to put Indiana University’s vaccine mandate on hold pending the outcome of their federal lawsuit filed in June.
The federal judge upheld the university’s vaccine mandate which requires students, faculty, and staff to become “fully vaccinated” with an experimental COVID-19 jab as a prerequisite for attending classes or maintaining employment at the institution. The Trump-appointed judge said the mandate was in the “legitimate interest of public health.”
On Monday, California and New York both moved to force health care workers and state employees to get the COVID-19 shots or be subject to daily testing as a condition of employment.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs will also mandate COVID-19 injections for its health workers, becoming the first federal department to require the jabs.
The mandates come in response to allegedly surging cases of the “Delta variant” of the coronavirus. However, research suggests that COVID-19 injections fail to prevent “breakthrough COVID” and are not very effective against the Delta variant. The mandates also fail to recognize natural immunity or to reference the increasing number of serious adverse reactions or deaths associated with the shots.
In May, after reports of breakthrough cases exceeded 10,000 and deaths among the “fully vaccinated” reportedly hit 535, (though 16% of those fatalities were allegedly reported as asymptomatic or not related to COVID) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced its transition “from monitoring all reported vaccine breakthrough cases” to focusing “on identifying and investigating only hospitalized or fatal cases due to any cause.”
Meanwhile, a British government “variant” report found that 68% of the recent COVID deaths with the Delta variant in the U.K. were among those who had gotten the shot, with over half having been “fully vaccinated.”
Likewise, Israel reported late last month that most new cases of COVID were in the vaccinated, with the vaccines “significantly less effective” against the so-called Delta variant. In Israel about 60% of patients in serious condition had gotten the jab, while around 90% of those over the age of 50 testing positive for the virus have gotten full doses of the injection.