Republican lawyer: Disney has a 'strong case' to stop DeSantis' power grab
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaking at Lynchburg, Virginia, on April 14, 2023. (

Disney is suing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) after his appointed board moved to void a contract preserving Disney's self-governing powers over the special taxing district for the Walt Disney World resort complex — a move the company alleges is political retaliation for its criticism of DeSantis' anti-LGBTQ legislation.

And the company has a very good chance of succeeding in its battle with the governor, Republican election lawyer Ben Ginsberg suggested on CNN Wednesday.

"It has now become a centerpiece of the presidential campaign season in the Republican primary," said anchor Erin Burnett. "DeSantis isn't declared formally, but this is at the heart of the whole thing. Disney seeking to block DeSantis' hand-picked oversight board from taking power over Disney World, taking power over the land that surrounds Walt Disney World in Florida. Does Disney have a strong case?"

"I think Disney does have a strong case," said Ginsberg. "It's interesting that it comes in this political season. What's particularly interesting about it is Governor DeSantis is taking a position that is the opposite of small government free market capitalism that has always undergird Republican and conservative thought. And so, in a sense, this is a bridge too far in punishing with this legislation, a company that disagrees with him is a fundamental violation of First Amendment principles. Disney, I think, was smart to include Contracts Clause and Takings Clause charges, the Equal Protection and Due Process means they didn't really have a right to present their case. And it seems at this stage like a real overreach. While it is fighting the woke company, that is different from this kind of government intrusion and government punishment of one company that disagrees with the government power."

In his signing ceremony stripping power from Disney, DeSantis alleged this was simply about making the company pay its taxes and eliminate special privileges that other businesses do not have — but those won't be convincing defenses in the lawsuit, argued Ginsberg.

"Once you get in the court of law, it's going to become clear that, in fact, Disney does pay over a billion dollars a year in taxes," said Ginsberg. "And, in fact, it is legitimate to raise the point of special tax districts in Florida. there are a number of entities that have them. The Daytona Speedway, for example, is a special tax district. The problem with the case, from the DeSantis standpoint, is he singled out for government punishment the one company that disagreed with him publicly. And that gets to free speech rights."

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Ben Ginsberg says Disney is likely to prevail against DeSantis