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Florida asks Supreme Court to block CDC's limits on cruise ship industry

The Hill logo The Hill 7/23/2021 John Kruzel
a large ship in a body of water: Florida asks Supreme Court to block CDC's limits on cruise ship industry © Getty Florida asks Supreme Court to block CDC's limits on cruise ship industry

Florida's attorney general on Friday asked the Supreme Court to block federal health restrictions placed on the cruise ship industry amid the pandemic.

In a 31-page brief, Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) argued that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) limits exceed the agency's authority under federal law.

"The statute grants the CDC limited powers to enact traditional quarantine measures," the brief states. "It does not permit the agency to remake the entire cruise-ship industry."

The request was filed to Justice Clarence Thomas, who handles emergency matters arising from Florida and surrounding states and who can act on the application alone or refer the matter to the rest of the justices.

Video: Federal judge blocks CDC's COVID-19 cruise ship restrictions in Florida (CBS News)


The CDC effectively halted cruises last year, from the early days of the pandemic in March 2020 through October. Since then, the agency has issued a "conditional sailing order," which allowed the industry to gradually resume operations with certain health restrictions in place, prompting a legal challenge by Florida.

The state says the cruise industry curbs have cost Florida tens of millions of dollars and threaten to upend the summer cruise season for a second year in a row.

A federal judge in Tampa last month sided with Florida, finding that the CDC's measure amounted to an unlawful government overreach.

But last week a divided federal appeals court panel agreed to halt enforcement of that ruling while the CDC appeals, prompting Florida to ask the Supreme Court on Friday to lift the stay.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) earlier this week sounded a confident tone when discussing the state's legal challenge in the case, Florida v. Xavier Becerra.

"I think that most courts at this point have had their limit with the CDC issuing these dictates without a firm statutory basis," he said at a press conference in Poinciana, Fla.


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