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Ron DeSantis in the “ugly”: Stop WOKE Act partly blocked, hit with lawsuit

Florida Gov. RonDeSantis and his Stop WOKE Act suffered a double blow Thursday as a federal judge blocked elements of the controversial law and a coalition of civil liberties groups filed case against what they’re calling “racially motivated censorship.”

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, issued apreliminary injunctionagainst portions of theStop the Wrongs to your Kids and Employees Act, also known as the average person Freedom Act, saying it violates First Amendment free speech protections and the 14th Amendment’s due process clause.

The Stop WOKE Act generally known as the “white discomfort law” prohibits classroom discussions or corporate training that produce students or workers feel uneasy about their race. The legislation is widely viewed by progressives within the GOP-ledwar on critical race theory, a graduate-level academic framework for understanding systemic racism in the usa.

“Florida’s legislators may find plaintiffs’ speech repugnant. But under our constitutional scheme, the fix for repugnant speech is more speech, not enforced silence,” wrote Walker.

“If Florida truly believes we reside in a post-racial society, then allow it make its case,” the judge added. “Nonetheless it cannot win the argument by muzzling its opponents.”

Walker’s ruling forayed into pop culture Zeitgeist:

In the favorite television series “Stranger Things,” the “ugly” describes a parallel dimension containing a distorted version of the world… Recently, Florida has appeared like an initial Amendment “ugly.” Normally, the initial Amendment bars hawaii from burdening speech, while private actors may burden speech freely. However in Florida, the initial Amendment apparently bars private actors from burdening speech, as the state may burden speech freely… Now, just like the heroine in “Stranger Things,” this court is once more asked to pull Florida back from the “ugly.”

Rights groups hailed your choice, with Protect Democracytweetingthat “the Stop WOKE Act is really a speech code that requires a page from the authoritarian playbook” and “seeks to censor ideas that challenge government officials’ preferred narrative, muzzle independent institutions, and direct outrage toward disfavored groups.”

Also on Thursday, the ACLU, ACLU of Florida, Legal Defense Fund and regulations firm Ballard Spahr filed alawsuitwith respect to several Florida professors, alleging that the Stop WOKE Act violates the initial and 14th amendments.

The suit calls regulations “racially motivated censorship that the Florida Legislature enacted, in significant part, to stifle widespread demands to go over, study, and address systemic inequalities, following a nationwide protests that provoked discussions about race and racism in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.”

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“Not merely does regulations prohibit instructors from teaching the Legislature’s disfavored viewpoints in the way dictated by their disciplines, but its vague terms generate uncertainty about when and the way the law will apply, thus creating a much greater chilling influence on academic expression,” the complaint states.

The ACLUtweetedthat”the initial Amendment protects the proper to understand for educators and students. The Stop WOKE Act deprives classrooms of important learning tools and conversations to challenge racism and sexism and discriminates against Black educators and students.”

“We’ve a right to instruct and learn clear of state censorship and discrimination,” the group added.

Thursday’s ruling and lawsuit come fourteen days after DeSantis suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren after he vowed never to prosecute individuals who violate Florida’s 15-week abortion ban or restrictions on gender-affirming healthcare.

In announcing the suspension which Warrenchallengedin federal court on Wednesday as a violation of his First Amendment rights DeSantis described hawaii attorney as “woke.”

In a Wednesday appearance onCNN, Warrenexplainedthat “we’re fighting back again to be sure that despite the fact that Ron DeSantis is governor, the initial Amendment still has meaning. The Florida Constitution has meaning and elections still have meaning.”

DeSantis has been called a hypocrite for touting Florida as a haven for freedom while signing laws that restrict reproductive, educational along with other liberties,includingthe proper to protest.

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