In Disney Lawsuit, Ron DeSantis Dick-Kicked *Himself*

It is delightful watching Florida failson Ron DeSantis’s political aspirations flame out so spectacularly. Even before the klieg lights of an official presidential campaign, he’s demonstrated that he’s both unserious and unlikable — plus getting saddled with the Tiny D moniker and forcing us all to contemplate him eating pudding with his hands. But perhaps the most egregiously self-inflicted dick-kicking is the debacle of DeSantis’s war on Walt Disney.

After Disney offered mild criticism of the governor’s filthy “Don’t Say Gay” bill that made it illegal to acknowledge the existence of gay people in schools, DeSantis vowed to take revenge on the company.

“I think they crossed the line,” he said at a press conference the next day. “We’re going to make sure we’re fighting back when people are threatening our parents and threatening our kids.”

Now, just as it’s hard to prove actual malice in a defamation case (hey, Fox!), it is very hard to establish someone’s subjective motivation in court. And furthermore, there’s a strong presumption in favor of legislative regularity — that is, courts will assume that legislators are acting in good faith when they pass laws. A politician would have to be an absolute fucking idiot to tell a reporter, “I though it was a mistake for Disney to get involved and I told them, ‘You shouldn’t get involved, it’s not going to work out well for you.”

Only a moron would write in the Wall Street Journal: “When corporations try to use their economic power to advance a woke agenda, they become political, and not merely economic, actors. In such an environment, reflexively deferring to big business effectively surrenders the political battlefield to the militant left. […] Leaders must stand up and fight back when big corporations make the mistake, as Disney did, of using their economic might to advance a political agenda. We are making Florida the state where the economy flourishes because we are the state where woke goes to die.”

And if we might quote Disney’s very good lawyers, only someone drunk on power would surround himself with sycophants so singularly dedicated to saying the quiet part out loud:

Senator Joe Gruters said, “Disney is learning lessons and paying the political price of jumping out there on an issue.”

The House bill’s sponsor, Representative [Randy] Fine, proudly confirmed that the Legislature had “looked at special districts” only because “Disney kicked the hornet’s nest” by expressing a disfavored political viewpoint. “What changed,” he said, was “bringing California values to Florida.”

Christina Pushaw, then Governor DeSantis’s press secretary, warned corporations that might consider expressing disfavored viewpoints, “Go woke, go broke.”


Senator [Doug] Broxson was explicit about the bill’s retaliatory intent: “We joined with the Governor in saying it was Disney’s decision to go from an apolitical, safe 25,000 acres, and try to be involved in public policy. […] We’re saying ‘you have changed the terms of our agreement, therefore we will put some authority around what you do.’ And I gladly join the Governor in doing that.”

Whodathunk that a party which mocks the Left for “safe spaces” would get so comfortable in the echo chamber of Fox News and its hill cousins OAN and Newsmax that it would forget that the rest of us can hear you when you confess that your intent is to violate the Constitution? Fitting, though, that it comes directly on the heels of Fox paying almost $800 million because its entire C-suite was messaging each other about the plan to feed the audience lies about election fraud in an effort to maintain market share.

After Disney and its very good lawyers had the outgoing board transfer much of its power to Disney, DeSantis once again promised vengeance.

“Come hell or high water we’re going to make sure that policy of Florida carries the day. And so they can keep trying to do things. But ultimately we’re going to win on every single issue involving Disney I can tell you that,” he told reporters. “That story’s not over yet. Buckle up. There’s going to be more coming down the pike.”

And indeed there was more, with incoming board members vowing to void the contract devolving power to the Walt Disney Company with approval from the Legislature. Yesterday, the new board — that is, the one whose members couldn’t be bothered to monitor public notices or attend their predecessors’ meetings where they signed that contract — met and passed a resolution declaring the contract void.

Within an hour, Disney filed a federal lawsuit seeking declaratory judgments that both of the laws passed by the Legislature regarding Disney’s special tax district are unconstitutional.

“There is no room for disagreement about what happened here: Disney expressed its opinion on state legislation and was then punished by the State for doing so,” they wrote, adding later, “This is as clear a case of retaliation as this Court is ever likely to see.”

As every lawyer predicted when the plan to magic away the contract was first floated (except for TinyD, who appears to have forgotten ConLaw), Disney alleges that the law violates the Contracts Clause, which provides that “No State shall … pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts.” Similarly they allege violations of Due Process, the First Amendment, and the Takings Clause, since the state is in effect seizing private property for public use “without just compensation.”

It is just as hilariously unconstitutional as everyone said it was a year ago when DeSantis declared this fatwa on Mickey Mouse. Back then, the prevailing wisdom was that this goober would back down and not force Disney to confront him head on. But he didn’t … and so here we are.

And, PS: The case has been assigned to Judge Mark Walker, an Obama appointee who already struck down DeSantis’s “Stop Woke Act” DEI ban. EL-OH-EL.

[Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Inc. v. DeSantis, docket via Court Listener]

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Florida Bill Doing Best To Out-Worst All Other Bans On Gender-Affirming Care

As Yr Wonkette covered yesterday, and as brought to our attention by the invaluable Erin in the Morning, the state of Florida (Motto: “America’s Useless Appendage”) is considering a whole swath of terrible legislation that if passed, would make life even more miserable for LGBTQ+ people there. It’s understandable, really — there are so many Republicans in the state Legislature, and they all want a turn at proving that they can hate LGBTQ+ folks as much or more than their peers.

Read More:

Florida LGBTQ Hate Bills Want Some Bigot To Have ‘Parental Rights’ Over Everybody Else’s Children

Red States About Five Minutes Away From Legalized Lynching Of Trans People

What IS Gender Affirming Health Care For Kids Anyway, Because Texas Is Super F*cking Lying About It Right?

Today, we’ll take a closer look (again, thanks to Erin Reed) at just one of those very bad ideas, Florida HB 1421, which drunkenly tells other states’ bans on gender affirming care for trans youth, “Hold my beer” before jumping on a skateboard and launching itself into the abyss. A Florida House subcommittee yesterday voted to move HB 1421 out of committee. After hearings in a second committee, the bill is likely to be sent to the full House, where it’s likely to pass. It’s Florida, and Republicans have an 85-35 majority of seats.

It’s not only an extremist bill, it’s also so broadly written that in attempting to outlaw gender-affirming care for minors, it also may make mastectomies for breast cancer illegal and ban hormone treatments for menopause. We can’t entirely guarantee that’s a mistake. The bill doesn’t simply ban gender-affirming treatment going forward: It would force detransition on trans youth. All minors currently receiving puberty blockers or hormone replacement therapy would have to end treatment by December 31 of this year. Such forced detransitioning is almost certain to lead to suicides, not that the psycho bigots supporting the bill care.

As ever: If you’re having thoughts of harming yourself, call the national suicide and crisis lifeline at 988.

This being Florida, the bill keeps getting worse. One provision would allow the state to take trans kids from their parents to “protect” them from getting gender-affirming care in another state.

As with several similar bills around the country, the law also forbids insurance plans from covering gender-affirming care for adults, because the bill’s sponsor, the dubiously named Rep. Randy Fine — a former gambling industry executive, not a doctor — says he believes all medical care for trans people is merely “a cosmetic-type procedure, and not necessarily a procedure that would improve their health.” Yes, of course he’s ignoring the consensus among medical organizations that transition is the treatment for gender dysphoria, and that, yes, it saves lives.

Because the bill bans the state from paying for any gender-affirming care, it would also result in forcible detransition for incarcerated trans people. The bill’s sponsor was very clear on that when another state representative asked. Further, the blanket prohibition on puberty blockers and hormone therapy would probably prohibit some treatments for stunted growth in children. Another legislator said that, as she read the bill, it may ban contraception for minors, although Fine said he didn’t think it would.

HB 1421 also prohibits any changes to birth certificates to reflect an adult’s gender identity. State Rep. Kelly Skidmore (D) had questions about why a bill supposedly aimed at “protecting” children would do that; Fine (again, not a doctor) explained that “your biology cannot be changed,” to which Skidmore replied, “Doctors would disagree. […] You can change your biology. That’s the point of gender-affirming care and surgery.”

Fine then muttered something about chromosomes, which kind of ignores the fact that hormone therapy very definitely changes a person’s biology, what with the differences in hair growth, body chemistry, and so on. But not chromosomes!

Fine went on to explain that gender-affirming care for minors is “child abuse,” although he acknowledged that’s his personal opinion, not actually a law. But co-sponsor Rep. Ralph Massullo — who somehow is a doctor — insisted it was just like “If you chop your sons arm off it’s child abuse,” so there’s a doctor who knows his stuff. Massullo also explained, contrary to the medical consensus, that since gender dysphoria is all in trans people’s heads, they should see a therapist and get cured through good old conversion therapy, which doesn’t work.

The most glaringly insane part of the bill is the former gambling executive’s medically muddy definition of “gender clinical interventions,” a term that isn’t actually from medicine. HB 1421 defines such interventions as

procedures or therapies that alter internal or external physical traits.

The term includes, but is not limited to:

1. Sex reassignment surgeries or any other surgical procedures that alter primary or secondary sexual characteristics.

2. Puberty blocking, hormone, and hormone antagonistic therapies.

The bill allows a few exceptions, such as for treatment of infants born with ambiguous genitalia, and of course for treatments to reverse gender-affirming care, but that’s about it; as House Democrats pointed out, the broad prohibitions on altering “primary or secondary sexual characteristics” appears to ban mastectomies, breast reduction or enhancement, maybe prostate surgery, and who knows, maybe even penile implants for treatment of erectile dysfunction.

But wait! Since it only applies to minors, Fine figured that wouldn’t be a problem. During questioning by state Rep. Christine Hunschofsky (D), Fine was surprised to hear that minors can even have breast cancer, though he remained skeptical of that anyway, and mocked what he said was the “pervasive problem of youth breast cancer.” Probably just an excuse to get top surgery, right sir?

Oh yes, and because it’s so sloppily written, the bill would also ban insurance from covering breast cancer mastectomies — for adults too, since the insurance ban is for all “gender clinical interventions,” regardless of the patient’s age.

Will Larkins, an 18-year-old high school student, testified against the bill, telling the committee members that his transgender friends would be directly harmed by the bill, not “protected.” He begged the lawmakers to at least agree to a Democratic amendment that would allow youth who have already begun treatment to continue it.

“That health care has saved their lives. You will kill them. I am telling you right now — look me in the eyes — you will kill them if you pass this bill and you don’t pass this amendment. […] You will kill them if you force them to detransition.”

The committee rejected the amendment, because there are no trans people in Florida, just punching bags to beat up on for the cameras.

This is where we wish we could tell you that HB 1421 is so obviously unconstitutional that there’s no chance it will pass and be signed into law, but you’ve been here for a while and you wouldn’t ever fall for a hopeful lie like that. We don’t even think they’d listen to our new hero, Grace Linn, that wonderful centenarian wonder woman. But who knows? Bet she’d make a trans lives matter quilt if she thought it would help.

[HuffPo / Florida HB 1421 / Erin Reed on Twitter / New Republic / Image generated by DreamStudio Lite AI]

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