Judge dismisses Disney's lawsuit against DeSantis over special tax district

A federal judge in Tallahassee on Wednesday dismissed Disney's lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and others.

Disney sued DeSantis (R) last year for violating the company's free speech rights when the governor asked state lawmakers to dissolve the Reedy Creek Board, which manages the 25,000 acres of land that includes Walt Disney World in central Florida.

DeSantis and his Republican allies in the state legislature targeted Disney after the company's CEO opposed a 2022 parental rights bill in education that included a “don't say gay” bill.

Judge Alan Winsor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled that Disney “does not have standing to sue the governor” and that the law it is suing is unconstitutional.

The decision against Disney is a victory for DeSantis, who used what he calls “woke” Disney as a campaign issue in his successful re-election bid in 2022 and the recently concluded presidential run.

A Disney spokeswoman indicated Wednesday that the company will pursue the issue, but did not specify how.

“This is an important case with serious implications for the rule of law that will not end here,” the spokesman said. “If left unchallenged, this would set a dangerous precedent and give states license to weaponize their official powers to punish the expression of political viewpoints with which they disagree. We remain committed to moving forward with our case.”

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