Judge blocks Florida 'Stop WOKE Act' over First Amendment concerns

“If Florida truly believes we live in a post-racial society, then let it make its case,” he continued. “But it cannot win the argument by muzzling its opponents.”

Updated: August 18, 2022 - 8:23pm

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A Florida judge on Thursday blocked a Florida law, stating that it limits discussion of racial and social issues in school settings and by private employers.

The Stop WOKE Act, which Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in April, barred private employers from requiring employees to attend events that advance controversial ideas like critical race theory. U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida Chief Judge Mark Walker issued a preliminary injunction against the law, saying it likely violated the First Amendment, according to The Hill.

“Normally, the First Amendment bars the state from burdening speech, while private actors may burden speech freely,” he said. “But in Florida, the First Amendment apparently bars private actors from burdening speech, while the state may burden speech freely.”

“If Florida truly believes we live in a post-racial society, then let it make its case,” he continued. “But it cannot win the argument by muzzling its opponents.” 

Under DeSantis, Florida has advanced a series of socially conservative laws, including a ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy and strict regulations on the discussion of gender and sexuality in education.

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