A federal judge appointed by then-President Barack Obama was ripped Thursday following a ruling that bars Florida from enforcing a law pushing back against far-left indoctrination on the state’s college campuses.
Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker of the Northern District of Florida issued an injunction against the “Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees (W.O.K.E.) Act,” officially dubbed the Individual Freedom Act. His ruling means the state cannot enforce the law for the time being.
“The law officially bans professors from expressing disfavored viewpoints in university classrooms while permitting unfettered expression of the opposite viewpoints,” Walker wrote. “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.”
The judge also wrote that “our professors are critical to a healthy democracy” while referring to them as “priests of democracy” who “shed light on challenging ideas.”
Christopher J. Scalia, son of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was considered a constitutional originalist, was among those to ridicule Walker’s opinion. In reference to the “priests of democracy” claim, Scalia, a senior fellow in the Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies department at the American Enterprise Institute, where he focuses on literature, culture, and higher education, said: “That whole sentence is embarrassing.”
“We need to start getting rid of these repulsive judges — or giving them IQ tests,” political commentator David Reaboi tweeted. “This clown is dumber than dirt.”
We need to start getting rid of these repulsive judges—or giving them IQ tests. This clown is dumber than dirt. https://t.co/dCTdZpIGdB
— David Reaboi, Late Republic Nonsense (@davereaboi) November 17, 2022
“Whatever happened to separation of church and state,” attorney Will Chamberlain added on Twitter. “If professors are ‘priests of democracy’ then universities are churches, and must do without all government funding.”
Whatever happened to separation of church and state https://t.co/uhWofS13Dg
— Will Chamberlain (@willchamberlain) November 17, 2022
“Ah yes, the American university, a flourishing marketplace of ideas,” law professor Adrian Vermeule tweeted sarcastically. “‘Priests of democracy’ is correct, although not in the sense the judge intended.”
The Daily Signal’s Jarrett Stepman added, “‘Priests of democracy.’ The left actually wants to publicly fund religion, as long as it’s their religion.”
“Priests of democracy.” The left actually wants to publicly fund religion, as long as it’s their religion. https://t.co/zBa8LiPSB3
— Jarrett Stepman (@JarrettStepman) November 17, 2022
The Daily Wire added:
The law, which the Florida legislature passed in March, prohibits public K-12 schools and universities from teaching eight concepts that constitute “discrimination” and lets parents sue if their children are taught those concepts. It also targets employers who require their workers to partake in woke trainings.
The banned concepts include that a person is “inherently” racist or sexist “whether consciously or unconsciously” due to his race or sex, that a person “bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt” for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, and that virtues like hard work, fairness, objectivity, and racial colorblindness are racist.
The act enhances enforcement of the Florida education board’s June decision to ban public schools from teaching Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project, which reframes American history with slavery at the center.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who signed the measure, as well as state Republicans hailed it as a weapon against woke left-wing indoctrination.
“In Florida we are taking a stand against the state-sanctioned racism that is Critical Race Theory,” DeSantis said in December. “We won’t allow Florida tax dollars to be spent teaching kids to hate our country or to hate each other.”