Florida objects to plan to fast-track school masks lawsuit to state Supreme Court


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Attorneys for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration say a lawsuit filed by a group of parents about school mask requirements should not be fast-tracked to the Florida Supreme Court.

The parents filed the lawsuit in August challenging a July 30 DeSantis executive order aimed at preventing school districts from imposing mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled in favor of the parents, saying DeSantis had overstepped his constitutional authority with the executive order. But the state appealed to the 1st District Court of Appeal, leading to Cooper’s ruling being put on hold.

The parents this month filed a request to effectively bypass the Tallahassee-based appeals court and take the issues to the Supreme Court. But in a 21-page response Monday, attorneys for DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the Florida Department of Education and the State Board of Education said the appeals court should handle the case.

“This (appeals) court regularly decides high-profile cases that are time sensitive,” the response said. “Significant cases with statewide interest are regularly disposed of at the district court. This case is no different. The normal appellate process should run its course and this court, which is fully equipped to timely decide difficult cases, should decide this appeal.”

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