State and local governments have closed beaches around the country in efforts to try and keep people from spreading the deadly coronavirus. But some have fought the order, only to ultimately lose in court Monday, according to the NW Florida Daily News.
“The county’s ordinance forces family members into a confined space within their house rather than allow them to social distance and recreate in their sandy backyard,” a memo filed with the lawsuit said. “Or it forces them to public locations to recreate potentially closer to many other persons increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19. Either way, it is counterproductive. And it is beyond reasonable dispute that any hypothetical, negligible benefit conjured by those who passed the Walton County ordinance cannot possibly outweigh the profound trammeling of the present plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.”
The Pensacola property is owned by several people, but one of them is former Arkansas governor turned conservative pundit Mike Huckabee.
According to the report, under "Florida law, privately owned beach property generally extends to a point known as the mean high-water line. The lawsuit also, however, points to property owners’ 'littoral' rights, which provide access to the water."
According to the lawsuit, the county's ordinance applies to these private property owners, when Huckabee and others say it shouldn't.
The property owners filed an emergency motion and injunction because somehow access to the beach during a pandemic was somehow an emergency. They claimed it was unconstitutional saying that the government was "taking" their property without compensating it and violated their privacy and due-process rights.
"Lead counsel Kent Safriet said owners had been 'kicked off and threatened with arrest for being on their own beach,'" said the report.
The judge denied the emergency motion and the ruling doesn't look good for them either.
"In ruling, the judge signaled that a lawsuit filed on behalf of the same 15 owners, seeking to accomplish the same thing, could also be in jeopardy," the NW Florida Daily News reported.
“As it stands I don’t believe it can succeed,” District Court Judge Roger Vinson said.
He noted in his ruling that the need to protect people in the short term, was far more important than Huckabee's need to play in the water or go fishing.
“The primary public interest here is you don’t put people in an area where they can be exposed to COVID-19,” he said.
Huckabee foe, Daniel Uhlfelder mocked Huckabee's downfall on Twitter.
"Mike Huckabee, who filed a false bar complaint against me, just lost his lawsuit in which he sought to go on a beach during a pandemic. Retweet to spread the word," he said.
Mike Huckabee, who filed a false bar complaint against me, just lost his lawsuit in which he sought to go on a beac… https://t.co/KcmtEcud4Q— Daniel Uhlfelder (@Daniel Uhlfelder)1586809659.0