Disney Files Opposition to DeSantis’ Motion to Dismiss Judge from Lawsuit

Earlier this week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida filed a motion to have the judge dismissed from Disney’s case against him in federal court. Now, Disney has filed an opposition to that motion.

What’s Happening:

  • Attorneys for DeSantis and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District recently filed a motion to disqualify Chief Judge Mark E. Walker from Disney’s case against him and the state of Florida.
  • The motion specifically sites two specific previous cases in which Walker used Disney as an example of state retaliation, implying that the judge has “prejudged the retaliation question here.”
  • Walker’s comments came as lawmakers last year moved to strip Disney of its special governing status through the former Reedy Creek Improvement District.
  • Disney has since filed an opposition to the motion.
  • According to the Orlando Sentinel, Disney’s lawyers argued that Walker’s remarks didn’t meet the high standards for judges to be disqualified. Court rules do “not prescribe the hair-trigger disqualification standard defendants suggest.”
  • Disney argues that a court rule about disqualification would establish a “high bar” to prevent parties from trying to “effectively veto judges whose decisions they do not like and shop for a judge more to their liking.”
  • The lawyers argued that Walker didn’t make any improper communication with the press or the public about Disney’s lawsuit.
    • “Judges are not prohibited from referring accurately to widely-reported news events during oral arguments, nor must they disqualify themselves if cases related to those events happen to come before them months later. Disqualification is allowed only if the prior comments expose an incapacity on the judge’s part to consider the new case on its own merits. The comments here come nowhere close to that standard.”
  • Walker on Tuesday issued an order saying he would take no further action until he ruled on the motion for disqualification.
  • The entire opposition document is available online for public viewing, and you can read it here.