Saturday, June 19, 2021

Update On The Florida Cruise Ship Case

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.


  1. Well...good.

    More like this, please. And faster.

    PS: For any who didn't feel like looking up "pratique," here's what I found:


    noun: pratique

    permission granted to a ship to have dealings with a port, given after quarantine or on showing a clean bill of health.

    early 17th century: from French, literally ‘practice’, via Italian from medieval Latin practica, feminine (used as a noun) of practicus ‘practical’."

    I guess you really do learn something everyday. (At least if you read this site, lol.)

    1. Wow, thanks, Brad! I was one of the lazy ones. Actually, one of my fellow agents (later supervisor) had a degree in admiralty law. He probably would've known that.

    2. “ ... had a degree in admiralty law. “

      Betcha he would school the knuckle heads that try to use that and civil law to get out of traffic tickets (yes, they do much worse, even murder, but I feel that they get their feet wet in municipal/traffic court.)

  2. I have asked, from the beginning of the gov’t mandated business closures, why is this not a “taking” by the government. My business historically nets $100 per month, the government steps in and says I must close my business. I am now deprived of my historical income. Other, much bigger stores sell what I sell and we’re not closed, but, I survived by better customer service. Now due to government intervention, the big guy gets all of my income and survives the 18 months of interdiction, I am forced to close. Hence my question of “a taking.”

    1. I'm genuinely surprised that we haven't seen some cases on that. I'm sure they'd be complicated because of deference to public safety issues, but the last year has been so extreme--and so unreasonable.

    2. Yeah, and I'm surprised that we haven't seen more cases brought by, say, GOP state reps, AGs, etc., vs. governors power grabs, esp. after the stipulated 30 day "emergency" window had ended.

    3. "Yeah, and I'm surprised that we haven't seen more cases brought by, say, GOP state reps, AGs, etc.,"

      I don't know, Mouse. I find myself more shocked by GOP action than lack thereof. Out of pure self-interest, you would think that a GOP pol would stir things up a bit, earn a little name recognition, get some street cred as a fighter. But no. The GOP seems to have made a calculation that "Run silent, run deep" is the strategy.

    4. Long story short, and X-referencing the post "Dems Launch on Catholic Church," it has consistently been Father James Altman of Saint James the Lesser, La Crosse, Wisconsin, who has relentlessly held the feet of the clergy to the fire for allowing our churches to be locked-down as WalMart, HomeDepot, and all the rest, were deemed "essential" state after state after state.

      Father Altman has more recently been asked to resign by Bishop Callahan, Wisconsin, for being "ineffective" in spite of the unprecedented funds he has raised for his parish.

      There is a great deal on youtube and the web about him. He is most famous for his homily, "You can not be a Catholic and a Democrat."

      If only all men had the courage of Christ that Father James Altman has, this Father's Day would be happy.

      Vivo Cristo Rey!

    5. OK, PD, but I'd have hoped that DJT would've tried to spur something along these lines.