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Constitutional Rights and the Public’s Health

Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings, LTD, et al. v. Scott Rivkees, MD


Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings, LTD, et al. v. Scott Rivkees, MD (U.S. District Court, S.D. Florida, August 8, 2021): The court temporarily halted application of Florida’s law banning COVID-19 vaccination “passports.” The plaintiffs, Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings and its subsidiaries, planned to resume passenger cruises on August 15th, 2021, after 15 months of suspended services due to the pandemic. As a safety measure, Norwegian intended to enforce a policy requiring all passengers to provide documentation of COVID-19 vaccination prior to boarding. Norwegian argued that a newly-enacted Florida law banning vaccination “passports” operated as an impermissible restriction on their First Amendment freedom of speech, an unjustifiable restriction of interstate commerce, and was preempted by CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order. The court agreed with the plaintiffs, finding they were likely to prevail on their claims that the law impermissibly restricts content-based free speech and likely violates the dormant Commerce Clause by imposing significant burdens on interstate commerce that would drastically impact the plaintiffs’ ability to operate cruise lines. Read the full decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – September 15, 2021.

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