The Supreme Court has denied Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ appeal to lift a lower court order that prevented the state from enforcing a new law banning bars from hosting drag queen performances with minors in the audience. The lawsuit challenges a Florida law passed in April, which aims to protect children from sexually explicit “adult live performances” at restaurants and bars.
It also states that establishments allowing such performances with minors present could risk having their alcohol or operating licenses revoked.
One particular establishment, Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando, argued that the law was too broad and infringed on free-speech rights. A district judge agreed and granted a preliminary injunction to prevent the law from taking effect while the case is ongoing.
The DeSantis administration then appealed to the Supreme Court, requesting a stay on the order, arguing that it improperly applied to other businesses in Florida not involved in the lawsuit.
However, the Supreme Court denied the request, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh writing the order. While acknowledging that the case raises First Amendment questions, the court clarified that the appeal only challenges the scope of relief ordered by the district court.
The order emphasized that the denial of the stay does not indicate the court’s opinion on whether Florida’s law violates the First Amendment.
Justice Kavanaugh went on to express that the issue of whether a district court can enjoin the government from enforcing a law against non-parties is an important question that may warrant future review. However, he stated that this particular case, which involves a First Amendment overbreadth challenge, is not suitable for considering that general question.
As a result, the court is unlikely to grant certiorari on that issue in this specific case.
In conclusion, due to the limited scope of the appeal and the specific nature of the case, the Supreme Court has found it appropriate to deny Florida’s stay application. This decision does not indicate the court’s stance on the First Amendment implications of Florida’s drag queen ban.