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Federal judge blocks part of FL law restricting public professors’ views on sexism, racism

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A federal judge in Florida blocked a state law this week that limited what views professors in public colleges and universities can have in the classroom about sexism and racism, saying the law violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Chief Judge Mark Walker in the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida handed down a ruling on Thursday that blocked some provisions of the law that he said were “positively dystopian.”

Walker pointed out that the Florida law prohibits the expression of only one viewpoint while it protects the expression of another. 

“The law officially bans professors from expressing disfavored viewpoints in university classrooms while permitting unfettered expression of the opposite viewpoints,” wrote Walker in his ruling.

“Defendants argue that, under this Act, professors enjoy ‘academic freedom’ so long as they express only those viewpoints of which the State approves. This is positively dystopian. It should go without saying that if liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

The administration of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who championed the original law, told The Washington Post it plans to appeal Walker’s decision. Nicknamed the Stop WOKE Act, the law effectively recognizes the expression of certain views about sexism and racism in public university classrooms as discrimination

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