Governor Ron DeathSentence of Florida grew desperate when he saw the spotlight slipping away from him and towards Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The two have been in a heated, neck-and-neck race to see who could be the most reckless, arrogant, dangerous governor of a large American state.
DeSantis thought he had opened up a slim lead, but then Abbott pulled a rabbit (that died) out of his hat and showed he can multi-task by continuing his menacing COVID policies while also launching an attack on pregnant women’s healthcare rights.
DeSantis may be a one-trick pony, but he’s going to ride that pony until it dies (or at least thousands of his constituents do). You may recall that the Florida Man had issued an Executive Order banning mask mandates that school districts sought to impose in order to protect the health and well-being of their students, faculty, and staff. He even threatened to withhold state aid to school districts that imposed such bans, later reduced to a threat to withhold an amount equivalent to the salaries of the officials who implemented the mandates.
A number of school districts nonetheless imposed mask mandates, believing the health and safety of those under their charge were more important than the money. President Biden instructed the Department of Education to explore steps the federal government could take to protect the rights of school districts who wanted to impose health mandates. And some school parents sued DeSantis to overturn his ban.
DeSantis lost a legal battle two weeks ago when a Florida judge ruled the Governor did not have the authority to ban the mask mandates. In addition to the legal arguments for ruling against the ban, the judge cited medical and scientific evidence from CDC in determining that mask mandates especially protect the health of schoolchildren under the age of 12, who cannot be vaccinated.
DeSantis appealed the judge’s ruling, which triggered an automatic stay of the judge’s order pending appeal. However, the judge lifted the stay on Wednesday, which meant his order went into effect and DeSantis’ Executive Order is not in effect pending his appeal.
This has incensed DeSantis, who just filed an “emergency appeal” to have the judge’s order shelved during the appeal process. Parties filing such an emergency appeal must show they will suffer harm if the judge’s order is allowed to remain in effect. In reaching his decision, the judge had said, “It’s undisputed that in Florida we are in the midst of a Covid pandemic. Based on the evidence I’ve heard, there’s no harm to the state if the stay is set aside.”
Ordinarily, measures to protect or maintain public health may justify emergency relief, but DeSantis is arguing the exact opposite. He is seeking emergency relief in order to jeopardize public health. Although he dresses his arguments up in terms of defending anti-mask parents’ rights to make health and education decisions for their children, his position essentially boils down to the fact that people won’t die unless his ban on mask mandates is allowed to take effect.