DeSantis' Stop WOKE Act blocked by Florida judge

Judge Walker quoted Netflix series 'Stranger Things' in his ruling.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Thursday, a federal judge in Florida ruled that a portion of Governor Ron DeSantis’ "Stop WOKE" act violates the First Amendment in preventing discussions regarding race.

According to Politico, Tallahassee US District Judge Mark Walker wrote in his 44-page ruling that the act violates the First Amendment, is too vague in its wording, and criticized it as "bordering on unintelligible."

As a result, Walker issued a temporary injunction, and reportedly refused to issue a stay that would allow the law to be kept in effect during an appeals periods. according to NBC News.

"In the popular television series Stranger Things, the 'upside down' describes a parallel dimension containing a distorted version of our world," Walker wrote. "Recently, Florida has seemed like a First Amendment upside down."

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

A group of businesses filed a joint challenge against the bill: honeymoon registry company Honeyfund, Florida-based Ben & Jerry’s franchisee Primo Tampa, and diversity consultancy Collective Concepts and its co-founder Chevara Orrin.

The law, HB 7 or "Individual Freedom," which went into effect at the beginning of July, prevents employers from requiring trainings that claim that members of one race are inherently racist and should feel guilt for the actions of their ancestors, and that a person can be privileged or oppressed based on their skin color or gender, on top of other topics.

Attorneys for the group claimed that these new policies forced them to censor themselves "on important societal matters" and "from engaging employees in robust discussion of ideas essential for improving their workplaces."

The piece of legislation is facing another legal challenge, after the ACLU, ACLU of Florida, and Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit challenging it on behalf of students and teachers.


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