Disney-DeSantis judge steps aside over relative’s shares

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks as he announces a proposal for Digital Bill of Rights, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)(Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press) Disney-DeSantis judge steps aside over relatives shares Bloomberg June 1, 2023 U.S. District Judge Mark Walker recused himself from Walt Disney Co.s lawsuit against Florida Gov.ernor Ron DeSantis, citing a potential conflict because a family member owns stock in the entertainment company.DeSantis had sought to have Walker removed from the case, arguing that he could not be impartial given comments he had made about the company during hearings in two previous unrelated cases.Walker, an appointee of former President Barack Obama who ruled against DeSantis several times, said those arguments dont warrant his removal from the case and amount to nothing more than rank judge-shopping. But he acknowledged that he should step aside because one of his relatives within a third degree owns 30 shares of Disney.I do not think it likely that the outcome of this litigation would substantially affect The Walt Disney Companys share price, Walker said in his Thursday order. I choose to err on the side of caution which, here, is also the side of judicial integrity and disqualify myself.Disney sued DeSantis in April, claiming that his efforts to strip the company of control over the jurisdiction in which its Florida theme parks sit is unlawful retaliation for the company speaking out against his policies. Disney opposed a 2022 law limiting gender identity and sexual orientation instruction in public schools.The dispute has served as political ammunition for DeSantis, who recently launched his 2024 presidential campaign.