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DeSantis and the judge, his administration cannot stand


The petition alleges that Walker, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, may have already “prejudged” claims of retaliation by Disney because of remarks he made in passing in court during hearings involving two other lawsuits against the state. “Because that matter is now before this court, and because that matter involves highly publicized matters of great interest to the citizens of Florida, the court should disqualify itself to prevent even apparent impropriety,” the motion states.

What the administration’s filing fails to note is that Walker has ruled against Florida Republicans multiple times. For example, he criticized the state’s 2021 election law targeting mail-in and ballot-in-the-box voting as discriminatory. He called the “stop WOKE Act” state law dealing with workplace exercise sessions “bordering on the incomprehensible” and cited the Netflix show “Stranger Things” in saying that “recently, Florida has seemed like an upside-down First Amendment.”

The timing comes just days before DeSantis is expected to jump into the presidential race, and the filing came just after Disney announced it was scrapping plans for a nearly $1 billion office complex in Central Florida. Disney’s decision appeared to be in the works for some time, and even the company says it was tied to the financial situation.

But DeSantis’ ally-turned-enemy, former President Donald Trump, has already hounded DeSantis over the Disney fight. A ruling against the governor — possibly six or seven months from now — would generate some heat for DeSantis’ presidential bid. Filing the request now allows the DeSantis camp to claim it was premeditated and gives them a potential opportunity to appeal.

This story first appeared in Florida Playbook. sign up here to get it in your inbox.

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