TALLAHASSEE, FL – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis filed a motion on Monday to have a federal judge for a lawsuit filed by the Walt Disney Company against him be dismissed on the grounds that the entertainment giant does not have the standing to sue the potential U.S. presidential candidate.
The lawsuit stems from a spat between DeSantis and Disney over the company’s public opposition to a state law that restricts teacher/student discussion on gender and sexual identity in school classrooms.
The governor subsequently dubbed DIsney a “woke corporation” and pushed for a bill to be passed the Florida Legislature – which he signed into law in February – that removed Walt Disney World’s ability to effectively self-govern its property and replaced it with a new state-controlled governing body.
Disney balked at the newly-dubbed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, whose board members were entirely handpicked by DeSantis. Disney attempted to take advantage of a loophole to strip the new board members of nearly all their oversight ability, a move that was effectively thwarted after DeSantis signed a new bill closing said loophole.
Disney filed a lawsuit against DeSantis in late April, claiming that the governor’s actions represented a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” for its stance against the state’s Parental Rights in Education Act, also known by some as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
DeSantis filed a motion on Monay, saying that the company doesn’t have the standing to sue him and cited several precedents that he says makes him “immune from suit.” His motion also says that he had only signed the legislation that stripped Disney of its self-governing powers; the bill itself was drawn up by state lawmakers, and as such, he claims he bears no responsibility for its contents.
“When the governor signs a bill, he acts in a legislative, not executive, capacity,” the motion reads. “According to an Eleventh Circuit ruling, a plaintiff cannot challenge a law by suing the legislators who enacted it instead of the officials who execute it.”
Disney has until late July to respond to the motion.