Could The Conditional Sailing Order Dispute Between the CDC and Florida Head to the Supreme Court?

The ongoing dispute between Florida and the CDC over the Conditional Sailing Order is far from over and could even go to the Supreme Court.

The hold on a ruling that would see the CDC’s Conditional Sail Order reduced to a recommendation has not taken the fight out of Governor DeSantis of Florida. In a reaction this week, DeSantis says he is willing to go to the Supreme Court if necessary.

The main issue the Governor sees with the CDC’s strict measures governing the cruise industry is the question: “Can you just have one agency and the government, without Congress ever passing a law, just basically shutting down an industry?”

Florida is Not Backing Down

Although a recent hold by the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals on the Conditional Sail Order ruling from Florida’s US District Judge Steven Merryday only adds time for the appeals court to review the case, Governor DeSantis is ready to fight a possible unfavorable ruling for Florida.

While he addressed the issue during a press conference, the Governor said he would be reviewing the legal options at hand and pursue the issue either at the appeals court or even the US Supreme Court. Something he is confident the State of Florida would win as The Hill reports:

“I think that most courts at this point have had their limit with the CDC issuing these dictates without a firm statutory basis. So I’m confident that we’d win on the merits at the full 11th Circuit. Honestly, I’m confident we’d win in the US Supreme Court.”

Governor Ron DeSantis
Photo Credit: YES Market Media /

Florida’s Governor added that he does not think this is just about the cruise industry. Although the cruise lines are of vital importance to many residents in the state, DeSantis believes the CDC’s Conditional Sail Order raised the question of whether one agency can legally stop an entire industry;

“One of the reasons why we did it was not just because it’s an important industry for our state. We’re committed to that, but it raises a bigger question. Can you just have one agency and the government without Congress ever passing a law just basically shutting down an industry? Maybe you don’t care about the cruise industry, but next time, it might be your industry.”

The legal battle comes when Florida seems to be in a conflicting time, on the one hand fighting the CDC over the CSO; on the other hand, the state is facing pushback from the cruise lines.

Not Everyone Agrees

While the consensus is that the CDC waited too long to allow the cruise industry to restart, not everyone is on board doing away with the CSO. Norwegian Cruise Line holdings recently brought a lawsuit against Florida’s state surgeon general, stating the proof of vaccination ban would prevent the cruise line from operating safely:

“One anomalous, misguided intrusion threatens to spoil NCLH’s careful planning and force it to cancel or hobble upcoming cruises, thereby imperiling and impairing passengers’ experiences and inflicting irreparable harm of vast dimensions.”

Port of Miami, Florida
Photo Credit: Felix Mizioznikov /

Within his state, the Governor is also facing criticisms, one of which came from the Miami Herald earlier this week. The newspaper took aim at the administration when DeSantis vowed to fight COVID measures onboard cruise ships, saying the Governor had lost sight of the events that transpired before a cruise ship ban came into effect in March of 2020:

“Maybe DeSantis has been able to blot out those horrible days in 2020 when cruise ships with infected passengers were turned away from ports around the world as those on board suffered and died. Well, we haven’t. The Governor must have a funny definition of winning if it involves bringing more COVID to Florida. As for the CDC, well, it doesn’t sound to us as though the agency is the one issuing the dictates here.”

Whether or not the Miami Herald is correct in its statements, the fact of the matter is that cruise lines are operating from Miami despite the CSO, while even requiring guests to be fully vaccinated onboard Carnival Cruise Line. It seems then that Florida’s case against the CDC has moved on from being about the cruise industry and headed towards what it sees as a much larger issue.


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