Biased Obama-Appointed Judge Blocks DeSantis’ ‘Stop Woke Act’ for Colleges, Calls Teachers ‘Priests’
A Federal Judge appointed by former Democratic president Barack Obama blocked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ “Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees (W.O.K.E.) Act,” which would have further guidelines around instruction at public colleges.
The law prohibited professors from teaching 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.
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DeSantis touted the law in December while announcing the bill.
“In Florida we are taking a stand against the state-sanctioned racism that is Critical Race Theory. We won’t allow Florida tax dollars to be spent teaching kids to hate our country or to hate each other.”
However, the U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Florida, Mark Walker, issued a temporary injunction against the act in no uncertain terms.
Fed. judge grants preliminary injunction blocking part of Florida's "Stop WOKE" Act that restricted how public university and college faculty can teach about race, sex, and gender.
The order is perhaps more scornful than necessary. https://t.co/HD3ZEzlmyx pic.twitter.com/kmeyOzZ6Ll
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) November 17, 2022
The Judge relied on the fact that this bill would Prevent Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor from visiting and celebrating affirmative action as grounds to block it.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker (a UF alum) is uh, not thrilled with the recent events at the University of Florida, from his order blocking parts of the "Stop WOKE Act"https://t.co/zHwBHBBqDN pic.twitter.com/31TK97IfI5
— Melissa Quinn (@MelissaQuinn97) November 17, 2022
The Judge also called the bill “positively dystopian,” as it limits academic freedom by limiting what a teacher can instruct students on, as true in public universities.
Judge blocks a portion of @GovRonDeSantis Stop WOKE ACT ruling the legislation holds an "upside down" view of First Amendment
"…under this Act, professors enjoy 'academic freedom' so long as they express only those viewpoints of which the State approves” pic.twitter.com/UsgDTTNxT6
— GA- Vote for Warnock on Dec 6th (@MaggieJordanACN) November 17, 2022
The Judge goes so far as to call college professors “priests of democracy” in his argument.
Federal Judge Walker strikes down Florida's "Stop Woke Act" calling professors "priests of democracy." pic.twitter.com/r7i9TocydG
— JP Ferreira (@JP_Ferr) November 17, 2022
This language has since been ridiculed by observers, arguing it betrays the true reasoning behind the decision.
So I just heard the judge in FL that struck down the “stop woke act” said, and I QUOTE
“If we do not let our priests of democracy…”
That, invocation of teachers as priests, as they struck down of a bill designed to prevent ideology being taught.
— DISSIDENT (@philthatremains) November 18, 2022
That whole sentence is embarrassing.
— Christopher J. Scalia (@cjscalia) November 17, 2022
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
“Priests of democracy” is correct, although not in the sense the judge intended https://t.co/bn7wGvOLP1
— Adrian Vermeule (@Vermeullarmine) November 17, 2022
If professors are "priests of democracy" then universities are churches, and must do without all government funding https://t.co/uhWofS13Dg
— Will Chamberlain (@willchamberlain) November 17, 2022
The DeSantis teams have said they “strongly disagree” with the decision and plan to appeal the matter.
“This recent ruling included several victories for our legal team. We expect many more and ultimately to prevail in this litigation,” Bryan Griffin, press secretary for DeSantis’ office, said in a statement to The Daily Wire.
Griffin bucked against the idea that the bill limited academic freedom, arguing that banning racially essentialist teaching is necessary to protect the free discussion of ideas.
“The Stop W.O.K.E. Act protects the open exchange of ideas by prohibiting teachers or employers who hold agency over others from forcing discriminatory concepts on students as part of classroom instruction or on employees as a condition of maintaining employment. An ‘open-minded and critical’ environment necessitates that one is free from discrimination.”
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