As the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) prepares to meet to discuss a legal response to Disney World’s lawsuit against Board members and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, we’re learning more about U.S. District Judge Mark Walker. Judge Walker will be the judge presiding over Disney’s lawsuit against DeSantis, and he is a familiar face for DeSantis’ legal team (via Reuters).
In a preliminary injunction last year against a Florida law known as the “Stop WOKE Act”, Judge Walker started his remarks by referencing the popular Netflix series Stranger Things:
In the popular television series Stranger Things, the “upside down” describes a parallel dimension containing a distorted version of our world… Recently, Florida has seemed like a First Amendment upside down. Normally, the First Amendment bars the state from burdening speech, while private actors may burden speech freely. But in Florida, the First Amendment apparently bars private actors from burdening speech, while the state may burden speech freely
Judge Walker will have nearly 100 years of Disney pop culture references to pull from when he hears the Disney v DeSantis case soon.
In the lawsuit, Disney claims that DeSantis is engaging in “a targeted campaign of government retaliation”, and that DeSantis and the CFTOD Board violated Disney’s First Amendment right to protected speech. Specifically, Disney says that DeSantis used the might of the government in continued retaliatory attacks against the Company after Disney spoke out against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Judge Walker will, once again, be asked to rule on DeSantis’ government violating the First Amendment when he hears arguments from lawyers on the Disney v DeSantis case. Disney asserts a variety of violations by DeSantis in their lawsuit, including violations of the Contracts Clause, the Takings Clause, the Due Process Clause, and multiple First Amendment violations.
In terms of relief, Disney World is asking that the court completely undo Ron DeSantis’ takeover of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, and hold existing contracts such as the Development Agreement and Restrictive Covenants as valid.
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!