- A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling that bars Florida from enforcing the ‘Stop WOKE Act’ while it faces legal challenges to its constitutionality. The legislation, supported by Gov. Ron DeSantis, restricts the teaching of race-related concepts in the state’s public universities.
- The Chief US District Judge Mark Walker had granted a preliminary injunction against the law last year, finding it violated First Amendment rights. The state filed an appeal but also sought a stay of the injunction, which was denied by the appeals court on Thursday.
- The law, enacted by state legislators last year, enumerates a range of race-related ideas and specifies that students cannot be coerced into accepting these concepts. The DeSantis administration said it remains confident that the law is constitutional, although the court has not yet ruled on the merits of the appeal.
A trio of federal appellate judges upheld a prior legal ruling on Thursday that bars the state of Florida from enforcing the ‘Stop WOKE Act’ while it faces ongoing legal battles related to its constitutionality. The measure, supported by Gov. Ron DeSantis, imposes restrictions on the instruction of race-related concepts in Florida’s public universities.
The decision affirmed a ruling ordered by Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker last year, where he granted a preliminary injunction against the legislation, finding that it violated First Amendment rights.
“Neither the state of Florida’s authority to regulate public school curriculum nor its interest in preventing race or sex discrimination can support its weight,” said Walker. “Nor does the First Amendment tolerate it.”
Following Walker’s decision, the state filed for an appeal, but also requested that the appeals court issue a stay of the injunction, which would have allowed the law to be in effect while the legal battle was ongoing. However, the appeals court’s three-judge panel issued an order on Thursday denying the request.
“[The] Appellants’ motions to stay [the] injunction pending appeal are denied,” reads the two-sentence-long order. “The Clerk is directed to treat any motion for reconsideration of this order as a non-emergency matter.”
In response to an inquiry, Press Secretary for Gov. Ron DeSantis Bryan Griffin conveyed to The Capitolist that the court’s decision did not address the substance of the state’s appeal and that the DeSantis administration maintains its confidence in the law’s constitutionality.
“The Court did not rule on the merits of our appeal. The appeal is ongoing, and we remain confident that the law is constitutional,” he said.
The law, which was enacted by state legislators last year, enumerates a range of race-related ideas and specifies that it would be considered discriminatory if students are exposed to lessons that coerce their acceptance of these concepts.