Posted on November 17, 2022

Judge Strikes Down Higher Education Portions of Desantis’s ‘Stop WOKE Act’

Zach Schonfeld, The Hill, November 17, 2022

A federal judge on Thursday struck down provisions of Florida’s “Stop WOKE Act” that prohibited public college employees from promoting eight concepts related to race during instruction.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, who previously blocked other portions of the law in a separate case, quoted the opening sentence of George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” as he issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law’s higher education provisions and pushed back on the state’s arguments.


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and state GOP lawmakers championed the legislation as fighting back against a “woke” agenda pushed by liberals and banning the instilling of critical race theory.


Walker ruled the First Amendment protects professors’ in-class speech and the provisions were impermissibly vague, describing the law as “positively dystopian” {snip}

“Our professors are critical to a healthy democracy, and the State of Florida’s decision to choose which viewpoints are worthy of illumination and which must remain in the shadows has implications for us all,” Walker ruled.

“If our ‘priests of democracy’ are not allowed to shed light on challenging ideas, then democracy will die in darkness,” he added. {snip}