Florida Gov. Ron Desantis spent much of his re-election campaign making a false case against Critical Race Theory, which is why the Stop Woke Act was created. A federal judge has struck down another part of that law, this time focusing on the college restriction aspect, according to the Associated Press.
Tallahassee U.S. District Judge Mark Walker placed a temporary injunction on Desantis’ Stop Woke Act on Thursday. Back in August, Walker ruled that the law was an “unconstitutional impairment to free speech” and struck down the employee mandate of it. The original law signed in April was made to prevent teaching or business practices that “contend members of one ethnic group are inherently racist and should feel guilt for past actions committed by others.”
As with his previous ruling, Walker disagreed with this line of thinking. The judge even went as far as to cite George Orwell’s novel “1984,” where he tied Desantis’ law to a “positively dystopian” policy controlling how race can be taught at universities.
From the Associated Press:
“Our professors are critical to a healthy democracy, and the State of Florida’s decision to choose which viewpoints are worthy of illumination and which must remain in the shadows has implications for us all,” Walker wrote. “If our ‘priests of democracy’ are not allowed to shed light on challenging ideas, then democracy will die in darkness.”
Two lawsuits were heard on Thursday that contested the ways the Stop Woke Act applied to education, as Politico notes. The ACLU, ACLU of Florida, and Legal Defense Fund sued on behalf of educators who said the Act is a discriminatory censorship law. College free speech group Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression claimed in its lawsuit that the Stop Woke Act is a clear violation of freedom of speech.
A Desantis spokesperson said they would file an appeal.