It should be delayed no further: Chike deserves justice.
Today, on January 12, 2021, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are presenting oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Chike Uzuegbunam, a former student at Georgia Gwinnett College.
In 2016, college officials silenced Chike twice when he tried to share his Christian faith with fellow students in a public area of campus. College officials first silenced Chike by limiting when and where he could speak, telling him to reserve one of the two tiny campus “speech zones.” Yet, when Chike followed their directions, campus police approached, telling him to stop because someone had complained The officers demanded his ID card and ordered him to stop speaking, threatening him with discipline if he continued to share his faith.
ADF challenged the college’s unconstitutional policies in court. Eventually, in response to the lawsuit, the college made some changes to its speech policies and argued that it should be able to avoid any penalties for violating Chike’s First Amendment rights.
After delaying a ruling for more than a year, the court agreed with the college. It ruled that because the college changed its policies and because Chike had since graduated, he couldn’t receive any relief.
But government officials have a duty to protect our freedoms. When they fail to do so, courts should hold them accountable.
That’s exactly what Chike is asking the Supreme Court to do.
Chike’s story highlights a larger threat.
When courts don’t step in and hold government officials accountable for trampling someone’s constitutional rights, it enables the government to violate someone else’s rights in the future.
We’ve seen this play out on public college campuses across the country.
For example, ADF has filed seven First Amendment lawsuits against the University of Wisconsin system, four First Amendment lawsuits against Cal State schools, and repeat free speech cases against several other universities.
Why? Because courts did not hold these universities accountable the first time around. And when the courts were no longer watching, these universities turned around and reinstated their unconstitutional policies.
But the threat to constitutional rights isn’t just on public university campuses. It’s everywhere.
If government officials can simply avoid responsibility for violating someone’s constitutional rights by reversing course after the fact, then what is the point of having those rights in the first place?
Please join us in praying for today’s oral arguments—for Chike, for the attorneys arguing his case, and for the justices hearing his case.
May justice be served.
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