(breitbart) – A federal judge on Thursday intervened against parts of Florida’s Stop WOKE Act, which aims to protect students, teachers, and employees from being subjected to radical left-wing woke ideologies, criticizing the policies of the act as “bordering on unintelligible.”
Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, an Obama appointee, detailed his decision in a 44-page opinion, contending that the act violates the First Amendment.
“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.”
“Normally, the First Amendment bars the state from burdening speech, while private actors may burden speech freely. But in Florida, the First Amendment apparently bars private actors from burdening speech, while the state may burden speech freely,” he continued, before continuing the Stranger Things references.
“Now, like the heroine in Stranger Things, this Court is once again asked to pull Florida back from the upside down,” he said, ultimately granting a temporary injunction, blocking the law’s private employer provisions.
“If Florida truly believes we live in a post-racial society, then let it make its case. But it cannot win the argument by muzzling its opponents. Because, without justification, the IFA attacks ideas, not conduct, Plaintiffs are substantially likely to succeed on the merits of this lawsuit,” he continued.
The law itself targets woke ideology, such as Critical Race Theory (CRT), in both schools and places of employment. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) originally pitched the law in December 2021, as Breitbart News detailed at the time:
The legislation would protect employees, teachers and school staff, and ultimately students and families, he announced on Wednesday during a press conference in Wildwood.
Under the legislation, CRT training would be considered an “unlawful employment practice,” making it “clear that corporations and public sector employers violate the Florida Civil Rights Act when they subject their employees to training that espouses race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating including critical race theory.”
It also considers CRT discriminatory in the realm of education, stopping what his office describes as “indoctrination in the guise of professional development, and requires districts and schools to adhere to professional development frameworks consistent with Florida’s lawful and publicly adopted state standards.” The measure would also solidify the Florida Board of Education’s previous actions, making them law “to guard students against indoctrinating curriculum.”
He ultimately signed the legislation in April. As his office detailed, the measure “includes provisions to prevent discriminatory instruction in the workplace and in public schools and defines individual freedoms based on the fundamental truth that all individuals are equal before the law and have inalienable rights.”
“No one should be instructed to feel as if they are not equal or shamed because of their race,” DeSantis said at the time. “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.”
The case is Honeyfund v. DeSantis No. 4:22cv227-MW/MAF in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.