Public Health

Reversing course, 11th Circuit halts CDC cruise ship safety rules after Florida seeks SCOTUS review

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The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Atlanta on Friday vacated an earlier order that had kept in place rules for reopening cruise ships set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Acting sua sponte, the 11th Circuit substituted a new order that halts the CDC rules pending appeal, report Law360, the Miami Herald via Original Jurisdiction, Bloomberg Law and SCOTUSblog.

The order is a win for Florida, which had asked the U.S. Supreme Court earlier in the day to review the 11th Circuit’s first order keeping the rules in place.

“I’m glad to see the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reverse its prior decision and free the cruise lines from unlawful CDC mandates, which effectively mothballed the industry for more than a year,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a press release. “The importance of this case extends beyond the cruise industry. From here on out, a federal bureau will be on thin legal and constitutional ice if and when it attempts to exercise such sweeping authority that is not explicitly delineated by law.”

Florida withdrew its emergency application for Supreme Court review on Monday, according to a tweet by SCOTUSblog journalist Amy Howe. Florida had argued in the application that federal law does not permit the CDC “to remake the entire cruise industry.”

The 11th Circuit’s new order cited a 2009 Supreme Court decision upholding a traditional test for determining when a stay may be issued. There was no further explanation.

The Florida Supreme Court said the cruise ship industry will be able to resume operations immediately as a result of the 11th Circuit’s Friday order. SCOTUSblog and the Miami Herald, however, said the 11th Circuit order halting the CDC rules applies only in Florida.

The case is Florida v. Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services.

Updated at July 26 at 12:54 p.m. to report that Florida withdrew its emergency application filed with the U.S. Supreme Court.

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