A state circuit court judge who not only decimated Governor 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 ruled 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.
Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper once again blocks Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R-FL) ban on mask mandates in schools:
“This isn’t whether I agree with masking or not … You can’t take an action which violates the Florida Parents Bill of Rights.” pic.twitter.com/Pvz556dCDk
— The Recount (@therecount) September 8, 2021
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Anti-Gay DA Claims His Religious Rights Are Being Violated After Attempt to Have Him Disqualified
A Tennessee county prosecutor who says the law does not apply to same-sex couples and Muslims is now claiming his First Amendment rights of religion and political viewpoint are being violated. Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott attacked a defendant in a case he is prosecuting that hinges on First Amendment freedoms to protest and petition the government to redress grievances, saying his attempts to remove the D.A. from his case are “constitutionally repugnant.”
Northcott says his critics “are trying to impose on me a religious and political test for serving in my office, for conducting my job,” Nashville’s News Channel 5 reports. Northcott says his critics don’t “like” his “theological and political beliefs.”
The case involves student activist Justin Jones, who is charged with throwing a paper cup of iced tea or some other liquid into an elevator filled with lawmakers, during a protest. No one was hurt.
“This case is every bit about race and equality and marginalized populations,” Jones’ attorney, Nick Leonardo, told a judge last week. “And with those sorts of views, judge, it’s impossible for Mr. Jones to get a fair trial.”
The judge said she did not have the authority to remove Northcott.
D.A. Northcott has said God does not recognize the marriages of same-sex couples, so he believes domestic violence laws and protections do not apply to them. He also says that Muslims do not worship the “one true God” so they do not have religious rights. He has the ability to determine what charges to prosecute, which means his remarks might be used to reveal discriminatory behavior.
Jones appears to be a strong public speaker with a following. On Thursday he told supporters Northcott had offered him a deal to drop the charges against him if he agreed to not protest at the state house again. He says he refused.
Watch Jones’ speech:
This just happened! pic.twitter.com/EocdU4UN3n
— Phil Williams (@NC5PhilWilliams) July 25, 2019
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