Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression Criticizes Gov. Ron DeSantis' Attack on Free Speech

Chris Menahan
Oct. 26, 2023

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) released a statement on Wednesday slamming Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for his "dangerous" and "unconstitutional" order demanding the University of Florida shut down Students for Justice in Palestine for speech "fully protected by the First Amendment."

From FIRE:
Statement on orders to Florida public universities to derecognize Students for Justice in Palestine: We must not give politicians more power to suppress our free speech

The government cannot force public colleges to derecognize Students for Justice in Palestine chapters. That's just what State University System of Florida Chancellor Ray Rodrigues, reportedly at the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis, is trying to do.

There's no indication from the chancellor's letter that any action from Florida's Students for Justice in Palestine groups went beyond expression fully protected by the First Amendment. This directive is a dangerous -- and unconstitutional -- threat to free speech. If it goes unchallenged, no one's political beliefs will be safe from government suppression.

FIRE believes higher education can only fulfill its important mission when students can speak their minds. And we'll defend the rights of all Florida's students -- and all Americans -- to speak freely.

Free speech makes free people.
FIRE itself is partial to Israel but even they see what a blatant assault on free speech DeSantis' order is.

As I noted yesterday, DeSantis is guaranteeing Florida will be sued for violating the First Amendment and will almost certainly have to pay out a handsome settlement with taxpayer dollars.

DeSantis banned this group as a pledge of allegiance to a foreign power and average Floridians will have to pay for it! This is as far from "America First" as you can get!

Of course, DeSantis is not alone in attacking free speech on behalf of Israel, nearly every GOP presidential candidate is echoing the same talking points!

The GOP presidential primary is supposed to be a contest to see who can best serve the interests of America, not Israel!

UPDATE 11/3/23: FIRE reached out to me to state they are "a nonpartisan organization that takes no side in the Israel-Hamas conflict."

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