Monday, April 20, 2009
In another interesting case involving state incursions into the arena of foreign affairs, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida struck down as unconstitutional a Florida law that required travel companies offering lawful travel services to Cuba to post higher bonds and pay additional fees as compared to travel companies that do not offer services to Cuba. The law at issue is the 2008 Florida Sellers of Travel Act. Echoing arguments from the Crosby case involving Massachusetts' attempt to impose sanctions on Burma, the District Court for the Southern District of Florida held that the law was preempted by the federal economic sanctions program with respect to Cuba because the Florida law interferes with the United States' ability to speak with one voice in its relations with Cuba. Specifically, the Florida law interferes with and imposes sanctions upon travel to Cuba that is permitted under federal law as part of the United States' goal of bringing about a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba. The case is ABC Charters v. Bronson, No. 08-21865.