Over at The Clarion Call, Dr. Donald Downs highlights the importance of Dr. Mike Adams’ lawsuit against the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. We have frequently discussed how Dr. Adams was cruising for promotion until he became a conservative Christian and—worse yet—a vocal one. Dr. Downs thoroughly explains what led to the Supreme Court’s 2006 decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos, the case the district court used to say that Dr. Adams’ columns were not protected by the First Amendment. And he outlines how this decision—and lower court rulings relying on it—not only chills free speech but also “threatens to stifle or inhibit open criticism of higher education institutions by those who are in the best position to know what is going on inside them.” But seeing as “sunlight is the best disinfectant,” as Justice Brandeis noted, such rulings do not bode well for the long term health of universities or the students they serve. And Dr. Downs highlights this point in an article well worth reading in its entirety.
Schools may no longer be in session, but courts still are. And this summer, that’s where several educators will find themselves.
The message from the 6th Circuit: You must respect the First Amendment rights of all professors, and that means you cannot force them to say things they do not believe.