DeSantis suffers a stinging defeat as Florida judge strikes down his ban on mask mandates

A Florida judge on Friday struck down Gov. Ron DeSantis' ban on mask mandates in schools as unconstitutional.

Following a three-day hearing, Circuit Judge John Cooper compared school mask mandates to laws against drunk driving, according to a report from Tallahassee's Fox affiliate.

"We all zealously protect our personal rights," Cooper said. "We can drink until we're intoxicated...but we cannot get in our car and start driving around while we've had alcoholic beverages that impair our ability to drive. We all have the right to drink alcohol, but the driver's right to drive intoxicated is limited by the government."

"When we talk about absolute and fundamental rights, there's always a footnote," Cooper added. "Well, let's see if exercising this right harms other people."

Cooper also "pointed out that some of the evidentiary reports and studies used by the governor to prove masks are ineffective or are not recommended by experts, actually said the opposite," the station reported.

Cooper's ruling came in a lawsuit brought by parents from several counties who claimed DeSantis' order banning mask mandates violates the Florida Constitution. DeSantis has vowed to appeal the decision.

More from Channel 10 in Tampa Bay: "This means individual school districts will now have the power to decide whether to require students and staff to wear masks, without fear of a financial penalty from the state. The judge determined DeSantis' order exceeds the power of the executive branch. The judge says school boards do have the power to develop mask mandates under the Legislature's Parent Bill of Rights."

In addition, DeSantis' Surgeon General has resigned. More information appears in the video below:

Florida Surgeon General leaving Ron DeSantis’ administration amid coronavirus