Circuit Judge John Cooper Rules Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Order Banning School Mask Mandates is ‘Unconstitutional’

By  //  August 27, 2021

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Judge John Cooper said Gov. Ron Desantis' order 'is without legal authority'

Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper, above, ruled on Friday that school districts in Florida may impose mask mandates and said Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order overstepped his authority by issuing an executive order banning the mandates.

GOV. DESANTIS: “This ruling was made with incoherent justifications, not based in science and facts – frankly not even remotely focused on the merits of the case presented.”

LEON COUNTY, FLORIDA – Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper ruled on Friday that school districts in Florida may impose mask mandates and said Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order overstepped his authority by issuing an executive order banning the mandates.

A lawsuit brought forward by parents claimed lawsuit that DeSantis’ Executive Order is unconstitutional. The governor’s order gave parents the sole right to decide if their child wears a mask at school.

“It’s not surprising that Judge Cooper would rule against parent’s rights and their ability to make the best educational and medical decisions for their family, but instead rule in favor of elected politicians,” said Gov. Desantis.

“This ruling was made with incoherent justifications, not based in science and facts – frankly not even remotely focused on the merits of the case presented. We are used to the Leon County Circuit Court not following the law and getting reversed on appeal, which is exactly what happened last year in the school reopening case. We will continue to defend the law and parent’s rights in Florida, and will immediately appeal the ruling to the First District Court of Appeals, where we are confident we will prevail on the merits of the case.”

“It’s not surprising that Judge Cooper would rule against parent’s rights and their ability to make the best educational and medical decisions for their family, but instead rule in favor of elected politicians,” said Florida Gov. Ron Desantis.

Judge Cooper mentioned Gov. Desantis’ order “is without legal authority.”

“We don’t have that right because exercising the right in that way is harmful or potentially harmful to other people,” Cooper said. “The law is full of examples of rights that are limited (when) the good of others … would be adversely affected by those rights.”

Cooper highlighted two Florida Supreme Court decisions in 1914 and 1939 which concluded that individual rights are limited by their impact on the rights of others.

The Circuit Judge continued on by saying adults have the right to drink alcohol but not to drive drunk. Lastly, he stated there is a right to free speech, but not to harass or threaten others or yell “fire” in a crowded theater.

“We are immensely disappointed that the ruling issued today by the Second Judicial Circuit discards the rule of law,” said Jared M. Ochs, Florida Department of Education Director of Communications and External Affairs.

“This decision conflicts with basic and established rights of parents to make private health care and education decisions for children. We will continue to fight to make sure every child has access to education. We are committed to the fundamental rights of parents and will push forward on appeal to ensure that this foundation of democracy is upheld.”

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