Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ (R) Stop WOKE Act has been blocked after receiving opposition through two lawsuits. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, who’s previously blocked portions of the Stop WOKE Act in different cases, announced the ruling.
In Judge Walker’s preliminary injunction, he quoted the beginning of George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984.”
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,’ and the powers in charge of Florida’s public university system have declared the State has unfettered authority to muzzle its professors in the name of ‘freedom,’” wrote Walker, going on to share that the bill limits free speech.
DeSantis has waged a war against the school system and teacher’s unions for much of his time in office, and this includes opposing an alleged “woke agenda” in the classroom. However, the effort has received pushback from faculty and students.
Calling the law “positively dystopian,” Walker compared it to 1984’s Ministry of Truth, arguing that the First Amendment protects the discussions of professors in the classroom and that the provisions of the law were impermissibly vague.
“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,” wrote Walker.
“If our ‘priests of democracy’ are not allowed to shed light on challenging ideas, then democracy will die in darkness,” warned Walker, adding that “the First Amendment does not permit the State of Florida to muzzle its university professors, impose its own orthodoxy of viewpoints and cast us all into the dark.”
Signed in early April, the bill was designed to oppose "discrimination and woke indoctrination." DeSantis praised the bill by affirming that "In Florida, we will not let the far-left woke agenda take over our schools and workplaces. There is no place for indoctrination or discrimination in Florida.”