Just this past Monday in Will The Courts Restore Rationality? we took a look at the CDC's attempt to shut down the cruise ship industry in Florida. We attempted to place this case in the larger context of the administrative state and the unprecedented lockdown of the nation--business, social relations, education--all done in the name of "experts" in our regulatory agencies.
Today Judge Merryman issued his ruling. It's 124 pages long, but the long and the short of it is that he has granted Florida a preliminary injunction against CDC that suspends the mandatory guidelines against cruise ships. The Hill notes, further:
The injunction will stay in place until July 18, at which point the “conditional sailing order and the measures promulgated under the conditional sailing order will persist as only a non-binding ‘consideration,’ ‘recommendation’ or ‘guideline,’” as is the case for other industries such as restaurants, railroads and hotels, according to the ruling.
Merryman makes little effort to disguise his suspicion that the CDC was carrying out a political strike against a Republican state and its Republican governor, noting that the restrictions CDC attempted to impose were without precedent. He also takes aim at CDC's claims of essentially unlimited authority to shut down a state's economy. Here are just a few excerpts:
Never has CDC (or a predecessor) detained a vessel for more than fifteen months; never has CDC implemented a widespread or industry-wide detention of a fleet of vessels in American waters; never has CDC conditioned pratique [sic] as extensively and burdensomely as the conditional sailing order; and never has CDC imposed restrictions that have summarily dismissed the effectiveness of state regulation and halted for an extended time an entire multi-billion dollar industry nationwide. In a word, never has CDC implemented measures as extensive, disabling, and exclusive as those under review in this action.
However, in this action CDC claims a startlingly magnified power. But as CDC concedes, the Public Health Service Act “consolidates and codifies” the federal quarantine practices applied during the previous century (Doc. 31 at 5), and “over the 20th and into the 21st century, the legislative framing for quarantine has remained relatively constant.” Donohue, Biodefense and Constitutional Constraints, at 156. Thus, viewed with the benefit of history, CDC’s assertion of a formidable and unprecedented authority warrants a healthy dose of skepticism. (p.38)
... the conditional sailing order is arbitrary and capricious because the order imposes vague and shifting (but binding) legal requirements and because the order fails to offer any reasoned explanation about the inadequacy of local measures. (p. 100)
Hopefully we'll be seeing more such challenges. It's time for the judiciary to reign in the "experts" of the administrative state, to give government back to the people.