On Thursday, an Obama-appointed judge struck down the DeSantis administration’s “Stop WOKE Act” law in Florida, issuing a preliminary injunction against the law that aims to curb woke indoctrination in the state’s academic institutions.
In a ruling, Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ruled that the law cannot be enforced on college campuses for now.
“The law officially bans professors from expressing disfavored viewpoints in university classrooms while permitting unfettered expression of the opposite viewpoints,” Walker wrote 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.”
In the order, Walker referred to professors as the “priests of democracy” whose task it is to “shed light on challenging ideas” – as if wokeness was a religion immune to legal challenge.
The order prompted a massive backlash, with the son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Christopher J. Scalia, calling it “embarrassing.”
“The whole sentence is embarrassing,” said Scalia, referring to the “priests of democracy” line.
“Whatever happened to separation of church and state,” asked attorney Will Chamberlain. “If professors are ‘priests of democracy’ then universities are churches, and must do without all government funding.”
“Ah yes, the American university, a flourishing marketplace of ideas,” wrote Harvard Law Professor Adrian Vermeule, sarcastically. “‘Priests of democracy’ is correct, although not in the sense the judge intended.”
DeSantis’ “Stop WOKE Act,” also dubbed the “Individual Freedom Act” prohibits schools from teaching or enforcing Critical Race Theory, the 1619 Project, and other elements of woke ideology in their curricula.
DeSantis and conservative lawmakers maintain that the law will prevent students and employees in the state from being subject to woke indoctrination.