WIN: Florida court rules in favor of DeSantis, lifts pause on mask mandate ban

by Laura Ramirez

Florida’s First District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday temporarily lifting the pause on the governor’s executive order banning public schools from implementing mask mandates.

“Upon our review of the trial court’s final judgment and the operative pleadings, we have serious doubts about standing, jurisdiction, and other threshold matters,” the three-judge panel said about a parent-led lawsuit insisting the governor overstepped his power when issuing the ban. “These doubts significantly militate against the likelihood of the appellees’ ultimate success in this appeal. Given the presumption against vacating the automatic stay, the stay should have been left in place pending appellate review.”

“Accordingly, we grant the appellants’ motion, quash the trial court’s order vacating the automatic stay, and reinstate the stay required by Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.310(b)(2). A written order explaining this disposition will follow,” the ruling stated.

The decision comes after DeSantis’ team quickly filed an appeal as the result of Circuit Judge John Cooper’s decision to strike down the ban on mask mandates in schools in late August.

Celebrating the decision, DeSantis tweeted, “No surprise here – the 1st DCA has restored the right of parents to make the best decisions for their children.”

Back in July, DeSantis signed an executive order that prohibited school districts in the sunshine state from implementing any form of mask mandates, providing parents the power to make the best decisions for their children. The state threatened to pull funding from schools that refused to follow the order.

“On June 29, 2021, I signed into law H.B. 241, the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which prevents the state, its subdivisions, or any governmental institution, from infringing on the fundamental rights of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, or mental health of a minor child without demonstrating that such action is reasonable and necessary to achieve a compelling state interest and that such action is narrowly tailored and is not otherwise served by less restrictive means,” the order stated. “Pursuant to Florida law, all parents have the right to make health care decisions for their minor children.”

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