By Ryan Dailey, The News Service of Florida
TALLAHASSEE — A Leon County circuit judge on Wednesday again blocked Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order that seeks to bar school mask mandates, giving at least a temporary victory to parents challenging the order.
Judge John Cooper issued a written ruling last week that said DeSantis’ had overstepped his constitutional authority in the executive order. The DeSantis administration quickly appealed to the 1st District Court of Appeal, triggering an automatic stay of the ruling while the case moves forward
But Cooper on Wednesday vacated the automatic stay, meaning that his ruling last week is in effect and school districts can continue with student mask requirements as they try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“There’s clear record evidence in the 1st District (Court of Appeal) within the last year to set aside stays. It should be not a usual thing, it should be not a normal thing. But we’re not in normal times, we’re in a pandemic. We have children who can’t be protected by vaccination,” Cooper said.
The battle now shifts to the Tallahassee-based appeals court, which could reinstate the stay and also will consider Cooper’s underlying ruling on the executive order. As part of his ruling last week, Cooper issued an injunction blocking state education officials from enforcing DeSantis’ order.
Attorneys representing the parents sought to vacate the stay, which set up Wednesday’s hearing.
“Allowing for a stay for days, for weeks or months during the appellate process, will mean more sick and dead children in Florida schools,” said Charles Gallagher, an attorney representing the group of parents. “Vacating the stay will permit (school) boards to mandate masks as a public health measure and save lives.”
Attorneys representing DeSantis, the state Department of Education and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran argued Wednesday that Cooper’s written judgment was the first of its kind to deal with a new state law known as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights.” DeSantis, in part, based his order on the law.
Michael Abel, an attorney who represents the DeSantis administration, argued that Cooper would have no way of determining the likelihood of the state succeeding on appeal in a “case of first impression” involving the law.
Cooper’s judgment said state education officials violated the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which deals with parents’ right to control education and health decisions for their children. He said officials did not allow school districts due process to prove that enacting mask mandates was reasonable and necessary.
But in arguing against vacating the stay, Abel contended that courts should defer to “governmental planning decisions” in the interim as the appellate court weighs the case.
“The (circuit) court made its best judgment based on what it saw and what it heard. Maybe your honor got it right, or maybe your honor got it wrong. We’ll see,” Abel said.
Cooper asserted that he has made decisions in the mask lawsuit and other cases based on his interpretation of laws. He listed other cases in which he has ruled in favor of governors.
“If you look at my record, it’s not somebody who runs all over the place, ruling against the governor. What it is, I think, is a record of somebody who tries to figure out what the law is and rule according to the law. Because that’s my job. I’m not a policymaker,” Cooper said.
Before Cooper vacated the stay Wednesday, DeSantis said during a press event that he expects a higher court to reinstate the stay and put his executive order back into effect.
DeSantis also maintained that he is confident the state will prevail in the appellate court, which is filled with Republican appointees.
“But what we found is, you know, in the trial courts in Tallahassee, state and federal, we typically lose if there’s a political component to it, but then in the appeals court, we almost always win,” the governor said.
While the appellate court takes up Cooper’s decisions, the DeSantis administration also is facing legal challenges in federal court and the state Division of Administrative Hearings over the executive order and a related Department of Health rule.
Apparently, the 1st District Court of Appeal does not agree with Judge Cooper regarding setting aside the stay. Therefore, the ban on school mask mandates is back in effect.
@ POC… I empathize with your passion on this. It is way past time to “publicly” call out members of the poising Party(s) and demand they “publicly” answer for and stand accountable to their pantywaist impotence. It is time to ask them, “why haven’t you stood up to this treasonous and tyrannical administration?… why haven’t you exorcized your power and duty to Impeach this clear and present threat to our laws, our Constitutional Republic, our children, and our future?”
… perhaps it’s their answer they fear more than our questions…
Yesterday’s open declaration of war on the American people by the O’Biden regime illustrates the abject failure on the part of Florida’s Republicans to understand their enemy. Yes, their enemy and the enemy of the people.
Once again, Florida’s idiotic Republicans and clueless Governor are incapable of calling a special session to criminalize any and all of these filthy, evil, despicable medical mandates from top to bottom. They fail to enable legislation to allow an army of trial attorneys to sue the hades out of these filthy organizations that force these mandates on their employees.
You despicable, loathsome, Demonrats screamed and shouted “my body my choice” when it came to genociding all people of color for the last 50 years and now you are completely silent in the face of overt medical tyranny. You filthy Demonrats are still silent when it comes to allowing murdered baby body parts to be grafted on mice or used for other horrific experiments in this country. Shut the heck up and sit down! You have zero credibility. And don’t get me started on the filthy Unions who have remained shockingly silent when it comes to fundamental protections of worker’s rights. They only care about the dollars flowing to their Union coffers.
~ “We have been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and the refusal has cost all of us,” Biden said.
Am I the only one who recognizes that the so-called President of the United States just issued a public (do as we say or else) “threat” to the Free people of a Constitutional Republic?
Just two questions, if I may…
1. Exactly who is “we” and “our”?
2. Why hasn’t this installed traitor been Impeached?
@ Keepiru… you state, “I hold to the belief that conservatives have to reclaim the moral and intellectual high grown by abandoning idiotic conspiracy theories and grab firmly onto evidence based policies.”
One cannot (or at least should not) operate on the premise of taking the “high ground” when dealing with those for which there is no high ground. This is what President Trump was trying to teach the Establishment Republicans in DC. In today’s vitriolic political environment, you must be prepared to fight fire with fire.
BTW… both science and evidence proves that neither a face diaper nor two shots of sugar water and fertilizer runoff will prevent anyone from catching the China Bio-Weapon Flu.
Hope: “Deep, dark hole”? That’s a little unsettling. I’ll take that as projection, but you do you!
Let me know when you’re ready to emerge from your deep dark hole and offer thoughtful dialogue. There IS evidence and because perpetrators don’t accept it does not diminish the reality that it exists. You fool no one but yourself.
I am so thankful I was able to pull and homeschool my four babies! This is absolutely child abuse!!!! We are so free now!
Hope, why would you presume to know my cohort? I’d have built the wall, currently leaning towards COVID-19 being a result of gain of function research, and believe what the Biden administration has done to the Afghan people is the single most loathsome foreign policy action taken by the United States since 1973. Not everyone is so easy to pigeon hole.
I hold to the belief that conservatives have to reclaim the moral and intellectual high grown by abandoning idiotic conspiracy theories and grab firmly onto evidence based policies.
Yes, thank you for making my point. Perhaps if you and your cohorts would offer a thoughtful dialogue and call for border control, investigations into the Wuhan lab bioterrorism, election fraud, Afghanistan, etc… rather then ignoring, then attacking, you could contribute to Humanity.
Hope, that’s not relevant in the context on which it was used. HIPAA applies to a set of covered entities, primarily physicians and insurers that curtails the media information they can share with third parties.
Fascists!! All of you left wing participation trophy control freaks should move to Commifornia, you’ll love it there.
…and the fake news has so many people scared to death about COVID. I work with a guy who survived COVID, then got vaccinated and now he wears 2 masks (even driving alone in his truck). I’m more concerned about the 2 inch long finger nails I saw a McDonalds worker had on her fingers while serving at the drive through than COVID. Democrats are destroying our community. Minimum wage increases still do not match being on unemployment. Inflation is sky rocketing. And more are getting remorse for voting for Sleepy Joe. I hope we survive.
Your response to Lena was genius! I doubt if she will ever recover… from learning the truth.
“The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides individuals with the right to access their medical and other health records from their health care providers and health plans, upon request. The Privacy Rule generally also gives the right to access the individual’s health records to a personal representative of the individual.”
@ Lena… time for a little perspective… ABORTION
… carry on
Well said, Lena.
Lol at “HIPAA” records. There’s no such thing.
How nice for you to have access to everyone’s HIPAA records.
Compare those numbers to previous flu statistics. Then call for Biden to secure the Border and to hold Fauci accountable for his lies.
Don’t forget to report who is profiting as in hospitals, Pharmaceuticals, the Bidens, Pelosi, Schiff, their political donors, and Big Tech.
Who is the “dumb” one now?
Count on the “dumbest” people to protest common sense measures to stem a pandemic that killed about 80 people right here in Tallahassee last month alone.
What is so appealing about the Republican death cult?
“I’m not a policymaker,” says Judge Cooper. He’s probably a democrat or possibly a germaphobe.
We seem to have too many people nowadays who would rather be policymakers than do their actual job; whether they are judges, doctors, journalists, professors, etc.
Another left-wing wacko activist in a robe.
Remove and disbar them all.
Judges seldom give give out rambling explanations like Cooper did in the above article for why they ruled the way they did.
Cooper just ruled and already hes trying to back peddle.
Cooper is operating off his tender emotions as is the case with most leftists.
Slap the tender emotional Cooper down again Governor.
Cooper your tender emotions have no place in a court of law. Do the right thing Son, turn in your black robe, and try to get out with what little bit of dignity you have remaining
The heavens are weeping… how did this happen that we have a judge who believes placing a dirty filthy rag over our children’s faces, not at the request of a medical official and the Surgeon General, but non-medical School Board political activists.
Isn’t it counterproductive to place a bacterial laden rag on the nose and mouth area trying to protect from a disease that affects the lungs?
The judge should be screaming at Biden to lock down the Border and at Fauci for accountability. Not suffocating our children with bacteria.
I am very disappointed in this judge. He is not even a medical professional and he is determined that he is so inclined. This is a sad, sad day. I pray for Humanity.
The failure is the Governor not outright criminalizing through meaningful legislation any actions by the Leftist Branch Covidian Cultists of Covidstan. This includes the Governor’s own tyrannical Executive Orders he signed off on from the start. Nothing will prevent future Branch Covidian Cultist Governors from doing the same. Stop playing games Governor and call a special session to pass meaningful legislation outlawing and criminalizing all this tyrannical behavior by these child abusing, sociopathic Branch Covidians.