Federal Judge Blocks Ron DeSantis’ New Law Push

(FreedomBeacon.com)- Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law the Stop WOKE Act recently, but a federal judge last week put a stop to it.

Mark Walker, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, ruled that the law couldn’t go into effect because it violated people’s right to free speech. In issuing a preliminary injunction that suspended the law, the judge slammed the approach that Florida’s governor was taking toward the right to free speech.

As Walker’s opinion reads:

“In the popular television series Stranger Things, the ‘upside down’ describes a parallel dimension containing a distorted version of our world. See Stranger Things (Netflix 2022). 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.”

Back in April, DeSantis signed what’s been dubbed the Stop WOKE Act. That law banned some types of speech. Included in that were workplace training related to sensitivity and diversity, as well as teaching related to critical race theory.

The acronym WOKE was created to mean “wrongs to our kids and employees.”

When the legislation was first announced at the end of 2021, DeSantis said:

“We won’t allow Florida tax dollars to be spent teaching kids to hate our country or to hate each other. We also have a responsibility to ensure that parents have the means to vindicate their rights when it comes to enforcing state standards.

“Finally, we must protect Florida workers against the hostile work environment that is created when large corporations force their employees to endure CRT-inspired ‘training’ and indoctrination.”

Walker couldn’t have disagreed more with DeSantis’ take on the matter.

He wrote that the governor may not like what certain people are saying, or even find it “repugnant,” but that doesn’t give him or anyone the right to create “enforced silence” on various issues.

Walker was ruling in a case that was brought by the owners of some small businesses who sued Florida after the law went into effect. As the judge wrote in his ruling:

“The plaintiffs said in their lawsuit that Florida’s law infringed on workplace training programs regarding diversity and inclusion, as well as trainings to prevent harassment.

“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.”

DeSantis has gained many followers in the Republican Party in recent years. He’s been seen as the next big riser in the GOP, and even as a potential leader for the party’s 2024 presidential nomination should former President Donald Trump decide not to run.

But, this is a big blow that he was dealt recently. As David French, a conservative writer, reacted on Twitter:

“The DeSantis narrative is that he’s the culture warrior who gets results, but two big pieces of culture war legislation (Stop WOKE Act and social media law) are now blocked by courts. And FL may have to pay legal fees.

“Might I suggest this isn’t what winning looks like?”