Disney News: Judge dismisses First Amendment lawsuit against Ron DeSantis and company

The Disney Company was hit with its first blow this week when a Florida judge dismissed the lawsuit they filed against the Florida governor.
Celebrating the park's 50th Anniversary, visitors to Disney's Magic Kingdom pass a statue of Walt
Celebrating the park's 50th Anniversary, visitors to Disney's Magic Kingdom pass a statue of Walt / Garret Roberts / USA TODAY NETWORK

The battle for what once was the Reedy Creek District has now been handed a blow by a Florida judge who ruled the First Amendment lawsuit filed by the company lacked merit.

Disney filed a lawsuit against the governor-appointed board and Governor Ron DeSantis. The lawsuit directly attributed the current situation between Disney and the government to Disney being outspoken about a law passed by DeSantis regarding Florida education and teaching sexuality.

Disney stood on the side of the LGBTQ community who opposed the law. DeSantis immediately took action against Disney and eventually pulled their Reedy Creed District rights. Disney contended that it was a violation of their First Amendment rights of free speech.

The Florida judge who got the case dismissed it on grounds that it had no merit. It shouldn't be a huge shock.

Disney spoke out about the decision and vowed to file an appeal. The current board, Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, also released a statement.

"We are pleased that the district court applied clear precedent to reject Disney’s claim that it, rather Florida’s Legislature and her Governor, gets to choose the officials who will serve on its local government body. Disney may own the land in the district, but it does not own the government."

Attorney C.J. Cooper

There are more lawsuits currently in the system including a challenge to former development deals made by the former RCD prior to DeSantis taking control over the area. The chairman of the current CFTOD, Martin Garcia said this lawsuit was nothing more "than a distraction". He said that while Disney owned the land, they didn't own the government.

This has been a contentious issue since DeSantis took action over the lack of backing by Disney. Disney, through the RCD, controlled just about everything including road repairs and tax codes. Now that it has been dissolved neighboring counties are being held accountable for the repairs and county taxes.

Far from over, it will be interesting if this remains unresolved when a new governor takes office in two years. DeSantis can't run for re-election. Previously, Florida law required the governor to step down in that role if he ran for the Office of the President of the United States. DeSantis had that law changed last year.

For now, Florida law prohibits governors from holding office more than six years in the previous two terms. He can, however, run again after the next election when the next term is completed after he vacates office.

For now, the Disney vs. DeSantis war will continue.