Reprinted with permission from Alternet
A state circuit court judge who not only decimated Gov. Ron DeSantis late last month but his team of advisors and his administration's legal arguments over the Florida Republican's ban on mask mandates is back, and he's doubling down.
Judge John Cooper had ruled from the bench that DeSantis' ban on mask mandates was "arbitrary and capricious," and "without legal authority" – meaning, unlawful. He placed a stay on his ruling knowing that DeSantis would appeal.
On Wednesday afternoon Judge Cooper once again rued against DeSantis, explaining as he did the first time that the law is the law and DeSantis' ban on mask mandates violated a law DeSantis himself signed months earlier, the Parents' Bill of Rights.
"This isn't whether I agree with masking or not," Judge Cooper said Wednesday (video below). "The issue is, have I decided that the governor has to comply with the laws passed by the Florida legislature. I say, everybody has to do that."
"You can't take an action which violates the Florida Parents Bill of Rights," Cooper concluded, handing DeSantis another defeat.
"It's undisputed that the Delta variant is far more infectious than the prior to their prior version of the virus, and that children are more susceptible to the Delta variant than to the form from a year ago," Cooper said, as CNN reports. "In particular for children under 12, they cannot be vaccinated. Therefore, there's really only one or two means to protect them against the virus as either stay at home, or mask."
CNN adds that effective immediately, "the state of Florida must stop their enforcement of a mask ban, which ends sanctions against several school districts who have implemented mask mandates."
At least 13 school districts have implemented mask mandates to fight the coronavirus pandemic, which had been surging through Florida in per-capita numbers greater than any other state.