Florida’s ‘Stop Woke Act’ Blocked by Judges Appointed by Trump

A unanimous decision was reached by a three-judge appeals court panel, which included two appointees of Donald Trump, to block the implementation of Florida’s “Stop WOKE Act” on Monday.

The Florida state legislature recently passed a bill called the “Individual Freedom Act,” which is more commonly known as the “Stop WOKE (Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees) Act.” This legislation was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican. Its main objective is to prevent the teaching of certain concepts related to race and diversity in schools and workplaces. Specifically, it aims to eradicate the idea of privilege or oppression based on race, sex, or national origin, which Governor DeSantis strongly criticizes as “woke indoctrination.”

The bill, according to the governor and other Republican lawmakers, aims to combat “indoctrination.” However, its critics argue that it is an attempt to whitewash history and a violation of the First Amendment. Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker of Tallahassee concurred with the latter argument in August 2022, specifically in relation to the workplace portion of the bill. As a result, he placed a preliminary injunction against its implementation.

Three judges from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld Walker’s ruling on Monday. They concluded that the law infringed upon the First Amendment rights of business owners.

According to the 22-page opinion from the panel, Americans have consistently held contrasting views on crucial aspects of morality, ethics, law, and public policy throughout history. This is not a new phenomenon. In the past, these disagreements have been perceived as significant and potentially hazardous, prompting the need for action. However, just like before, the First Amendment serves as a safeguard against the government interfering and favoring one side over the other.

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The panel of judges included Charles R. Wilson, Andrew L. Brasher, and Britt Grant. Brasher and Grant were appointed to the court by former President Donald Trump in 2020 and 2018, respectively. Wilson, on the other hand, was appointed by former President Bill Clinton in 1999.

On Monday evening, Newsweek sent an email to DeSantis’s office for comment. We will update this story with any responses received.

While conservative lawmakers generally accept the contents of the Stop WOKE Act, Governor DeSantis has emerged as a significant contender for the 2024 presidential nomination, making this bill a crucial part of his political agenda. Despite being seen as a rising star in the party, DeSantis faced challenges in gaining momentum against the ongoing popularity of former President Trump, as well as his own perceived limitations. Consequently, he withdrew from the race shortly after securing a distant second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.

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