Ron DeSantis To Take Issue To Supreme Court Against CDC

( The fight over the right to sail cruises from Florida’s ports is not going to end short of the Supreme Court, if Ron DeSantis has his way.

On Monday, the Republican governor of Florida said he’d take the battle up to the highest court in the U.S. in an effort to overturn a weekend decision over who can regulate the cruise industry.

On Saturday, an appeals court ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can place limitations on the industry, against what DeSantis has been fighting for.

Atlanta’s U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit made the ruling on Saturday, officially giving the CDC the power to regulate the industry — for now. DeSantis is arguing that the ruling is devastating the economy in Florida.

In April, DeSantis and the state sued the CDC over no-sail orders the CDC imposed initially back in spring 2020. Florida argues that the order is illegal since Congress never gave authority to the CDC to enforce safety and health rules on any cruise ships that operate out of American ports.

A preliminary injunction against the rules was issued by Steven Merryday, a U.S. District Judge, in June. That temporarily took away the CDC’s ability to regulate the cruise industry.

However, the agency appealed that decision. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court then overturned the ruling one day before it was going to take effect.

The next step in the fight is for DeSantis and Florida to appeal to the full appeals court of 12 members, which they are in the process of doing. The governor said he believed the full court would side with him. But, even if they don’t, he would appeal all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court to get what he wants.

As of now, the authority the CDC has to regulate the cruise industry is set to expire on October 31.

While this battle in court is ongoing, many cruise lines have plowed forward with re-opening their operations. To do so, they must comply not only with the rules established by the CDC but also those established by Florida.

State law in Florida prohibits any business from requiring their customers from showing proof that they have received a COVID-19 vaccine before entering. That means cruise lines that operate out of a Florida port also can’t require passengers be vaccinated before boarding.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Line, then, are just encouraging their passengers to be vaccinated and show proof of it. They aren’t allowed to require it, though.

Passengers on these cruise lines who aren’t fully vaccinated must purchase travel insurance. While on board, they also must follow guidelines for social distancing and mask wearing.

Passengers who are fully vaccinated don’t have to follow those rules.

Not all cruise lines are taking this approach, though. Norwegian Cruise Line has decided to not sail from any Florida port until after the CDC’s authority expires.

The company has said it disagrees with DeSantis’ stance. They want all their passengers to be fully vaccinated before departing.