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Source & Scope of Public Health Legal Powers

State of Florida v. Becerra, et al.

Overview

State of Florida v. Becerra, et al. (U.S. District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, June 18, 2021): A Florida federal court prevented enforcement of the CDC’s “conditional sailing order,” issued in October 2020 with the purpose of safely reopening the cruise industry under a four-phased “framework.” Florida challenged the conditional sailing order on several grounds, all of which the court affirmed: (1) the order exceeded CDC’s statutory and regulatory authority; (2) the order was arbitrary and capricious, because CDC failed to consider the prevalence of vaccination rates, success of COVID-mitigation measures, success of foreign cruise lines in reopening, and less restrictive alternatives; (3) CDC unreasonably delayed action in reopening; (4) CDC failed to conduct public notice and comment for rulemaking, relying improperly on the “good cause” exception; and (5) the order constituted an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority. After rejecting CDC’s contention that Florida lacked standing to bring the claims, the court found that Florida was “highly likely to prevail on the merits” of the claim that CDC’s conditional sailing order exceeded its statutory authority. Citing the significant threat of injury to the state’s revenue and economy in the face of continued sailing restrictions, the court held that “the balance of harm and public interest favor Florida.” Read the full decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – July 16, 2021.

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