• Tom Drake

Federal Judge Will Hear Arguments Today in Florida Lawsuit Against the CDC

Florida Attorney General will make her case in Tampa before Judge Merryday.

U.S. District Court Judge Steven Merryday will hear arguments today in Florida’s request for a preliminary injunction against federal restrictions that have kept the cruise-ship industry shut down for fourteen months during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, filed the lawsuit last month challenging restrictions imposed by the CDC. Moody’s office is seeking a preliminary injunction based, in part, on arguments that the CDC overstepped its legal authority in imposing the restrictions. However. U.S. Department of Justice attorneys will argue that the federal government has long had authority to regulate ships to prevent the spread of communicable diseases and that Florida lacks legal “standing” to pursue the case. In a court document filed this week, the Justice Department attorneys cited outbreaks early in the pandemic aboard cruise ships, saying that the “experiences demonstrated that cruise ships are uniquely suited to spread COVID-19, likely due to their close quarters for passengers and crew for prolonged periods and other factors.” Alaska and Texas have also joined Florida in petitioning the courts to rescind the Conditional Sail Order issued by the CDC.

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