Norwegian Cruise Lines filed what the company calls a “last resort” lawsuit against the state of Florida on Tuesday over an anti-vaccine law praised by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that bans businesses from requiring customers to be vaccinated. Companies face fines of $5,000 per violation for asking about vaccination status.
Norwegian hoped to resume cruise operations starting August 15, but Florida’s “anomalous, misguided intrusion threatens to spoil” that plan, according to a lawsuit the company filed with the U.S. District Court in Miami on Tuesday.
In a filing against Scott A. Rivkees, Florida’s Surgeon General, Norwegian Cruise Lines and its subsidiary companies will “find itself either on the wrong side of health and safety and the operative federal legal framework, or else on the wrong side of Florida law,” as the lawsuit explains.
The lawsuit is quick to point out that vaccine requirements for cruises is not only supported by the company, but it’s supported overwhelmingly by customers as well. And Norwegian, referred to as NCLH in the lawsuit, thinks Florida’s new law, which was passed by both the Florida House and Senate on April 29 and signed by DeSantis on May 3, violates the U.S. Constitution in a number of ways.
From the lawsuit, which Gizmodo has uploaded in its entirety to the Internet Archive:
As set forth herein, Florida’s categorical prohibition against requiring documentation of vaccinations from customers, as applied to NCLH, violates federal law in multiple, independent respects: Florida’s prohibition (1) conflicts with federal statutes and regulations and is therefore preempted under 42 U.S.C. § 264 and CDC’s regulations thereunder; (2) blocks communications between a business and its customers, in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (as applicable to the State of Florida under the Fourteenth Amendment); (3) profoundly disrupts the proper flow of interstate and international commerce without advancing any substantial state interest, in violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause; and (4) inexplicably precludes this business from protecting the health and safety of its employees and customers against the extraordinary backdrop of a deadly pandemic, in violation of substantive due process as protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.
The state of Florida has seen a tremendous death toll from covid-19 during the pandemic, which still hasn’t technically subsided despite many aspects of life returning to normal. Florida has seen over 2.38 million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, and over 38,000 deaths. Just 47% of Florida’s eligible population has been fully vaccinated, with 54% having received at least one dose.
Sadly, there is still a large contingent of Americans who are not just skeptical of covid-19 vaccines produced by companies like Pfizer and Moderna, they’re actively campaigning for others not to receive the vaccine. In fact, Tucker Carlson, one of the most popular talking heads of TV, devotes hours every week to how the people pushing vaccines are supposedly doing something nefarious. In fact, the covid-19 vaccines have proven to be both safe and effective.
Vaccination is the ticket back to normal life and the train is leaving the station—or the cruise, as it were. If you choose not to get vaccinated, that’s up to you, but that’s precisely why covid-19 cases are picking back up again. Virtually everyone who’s getting covid-19 right now are those who have never been vaccinated.
“Whereas Florida should be glad to see NCLH resuming safe operations and generating valuable economic returns, no one will suffer from passengers simply confirming that they have been vaccinated, as agreed, while this case proceeds expeditiously to final judgment,” Norwegian said in its lawsuit. “The case for this Court to grant preliminary and then permanent injunctive relief to NCLH is therefore extremely compelling”
If cruises are to resume, cruise lines should be allowed to require that all passengers be vaccinated, if only for the safety of crew who shouldn’t have to deal with disease outbreaks on board while they’re simply trying to do their jobs.
Gov. DeSantis will tell you it’s all about freedom of choice, but it’s a pathetic ploy to appeal to low-information voters who think Joe Biden is trying to insert a microchip into their arms or make them magnet. For the record, vaccines aren’t making people magnetic. You’re skin’s just oily, you dunderhead. We went over this a decade ago.