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Law & the Courts

With this Case, the Court Can Tell Campus Officials They Must Respect Free Speech

The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in a case that’s hard to pronounce but extremely important for free speech on college campuses.

Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski arose out of the free-speech restrictions imposed at Georgia Gwinnett College, and I discuss it in today’s Martin Center article. 

The plaintiffs merely sought to share their Christian beliefs with others on campus, but were told that they had to do so within a miniscule free-speech zone, which was only available at limited times. They obeyed that rule, but when speaking within the zone they were soon told by officials that they had to stop because someone had complained about them, and any complaint was taken to show “disorderly conduct.”

With the assistance of Alliance Defending Freedom, the students filed suit, but before the case came to trial, the school changed its free-speech limiting policies to make it moot. The federal district court agreed and dismissed it. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal.

This is a classic example of abusing the mootness doctrine so as to avoid a precedent-creating decision, and the Supreme Court should put an end to this often-used tactic once and for all.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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