University of Florida Bars Professors From Testifying Against New State Voting Rules

There is a troubling report in The New York Times of another free speech fight on one of our campuses. Three University of Florida political science professors have told a federal court that the university barred them from assisting plaintiffs in a challenge to the state’s new voting laws. As state employees, they were told that litigating against a state law would be “adverse to U.F.’s interests.” That is a departure from long-standing practices at state universities. It constitutes an obvious attack on the free speech and associational rights of these faculty members as well as academic freedom. The plaintiffs in the challenge wanted to retain Daniel Smith (the chair of the university’s political science department), Michael McDonald, and Sharon Wright Austin.They asked for permission from the dean of the university’s college of arts and sciences, David E. Richardson, who rejected the requests on the grounds that “outside activities that may pose a conflict of interest to the executive branch of the state of Florida create a conflict for the University of Florida.”

The faculty members, however, noted that approval was granted in 2018 in litigation against the state.

The university spokesperson, Hessy Fernandez, insisted

“The university did not deny the First Amendment rights or academic freedom . . .  Rather, the university denied requests of these full-time employees to undertake outside paid work that is adverse to the university’s interests as a state of Florida institution.”

I disagree.  Professors in state schools routinely assist in research and litigation against state agencies or policies. Law professors often write amicus briefs on constitutional or statutory challenges. Indeed, such work has a long tradition in public interest projects, including death penalty challenges, environmental advocacy, and litigation for equal rights. Universities are not arms of the executive branch like the office of the Florida Attorney General or the department of corrections. They do not bind the government or create waivers on behalf of the state in litigation.

The bar on such expert testimony would also put the state on the slippery slope of censorship. For example, professors write books, research papers, and opinion pieces that are critical of state policies and are often cited in litigation. There is, of course, a distinction between directly participating in a legal challenge and indirectly supporting such a challenge through scholarship. However, if employees cannot assume an “adverse” position to the state, the same logic could be used to bar other forms of academic expression like preparing a “white paper” on possible challenges or directly refuting the data used to support a policy.

Finally, these professors are not basing their research on data or resources that are not available to the public at large. These are not correctional guards using their access to state facilities to help challenge state correctional policies.

There is no compelling reason to bar such work. The state could argue that a jury might view a University of Florida professor as a representative of the state. However, a court can make it clear that the professor is appearing in his own capacity and not as a representative of the state.

Florida’s voting rights changes must rise or fall on their merits. It is in the interest of the public for the best available experts on both sides to be heard.  Some of those experts will come from state schools.

Not only is this rule barring valuable experts from important litigation, but it invites arbitrary or opportunistic decisions. A university could bar faculty based on the content of their views. So three professors supporting the voting rights changes might not be “adverse” and therefore allowed to testify in such a case.

Ironically, the case smacks of an academic version of the recent court martial of Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr. for criticizing the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Unlike the military, however, there is not a tradition of “good order and discipline” in academia that bars criticism of one’s superiors in public. To the contrary, academic positions allow scholars to challenge orthodoxy and authority, including the state itself.

In other words, it is a nightmare for free speech as well as good government values. The decision on the three professors should be rescinded and a new policy promulgated to allow state faculty members the same freedom as faculty members at private universities.


75 thoughts on “University of Florida Bars Professors From Testifying Against New State Voting Rules”

  1. I am trying to create a situation where my employer would allow me to be hired to argue against the interests of my employer, under oath, using my company credentials as bona fides. I can’t come up with that scenario. These professors are nothing without their credentials. The reason the prosecutor wants these specific names rests entirely on there ability to argue against their own interests. Three different Profs from a different States would not provide the optics the lawyers are looking for.
    From that perspective, this has nothing to do with free speech. The Profs could speak their mind in any venue, except under oath.

        1. That doesn’t explain why it’s against the interests of the U. of FL for them to make statements about voting.

          BTW, “The Profs could speak their mind in any venue, except under oath” is nonsense. The University has already stated that they can say whatever they want as long as they’re not being paid for it.

          1. UofF is part of the executive branch of FL government.
            In this instance the professors are defying both the legislative and executive branches.

            While I think this is a poor choice, it is not an illegal or unconstitutional one.

            The proper solution is to get government out of education.

          2. University has already stated that they can say whatever they want as long as they’re not being paid for it.

            Which was my stated point. This is not a free speech issue. Their speech is regulated by their boss. Not denied.

            My last job expressed clearly that talking to the press as an employee of the company was only at the express written permission of the Management team. Social media posts sharing work experiences could expose proprietary information, and treated as such.

          1. Are they employees of the judicial branch ?
            Are they employees of the legislative branch ?

            Whether you like it or not they are employees of the executive.

            But they shoudl not be govenrment employees at all.

            It is NOT the role of government to educate people.

            1. It is NOT the role of government to educate people.

              It is not the role of the Federal Govt to educate people. States can do as they please, following State Constitutions. One of the criteria for admittence into the union was the States focus on educating their population.

              But that distinction does not change the fact the Profs are State employees. Under the control of the Executive Branch

      1. Not the correct question.

        The correct one is, can one part of the executive branch undermine the laws passed by the legislature and signed by and enforced by the executive of which they are a part.

        The solution – as with pretty much all such conflicts that arrise from progressive and therefore over expansive government is to keep government out of what is best done without the use of force.

      2. It’s not, why should it be? The leftist administrators at universities are control freaks – like all leftists are.

    1. An exactly….the question is are they experts or using credentials. I don’t know and can’t state either way. But can’t employers ban ” moonlighting”? Military officers for example can’t moonlight as waitresses etc. Or use their rank/position off duty. Those teachers in New York are prohibited other jobs for working because the wouldn’t take the jab. Seems like employers have a lot of say nowadays. If they can tell you to get a jab they sure he’ll can tell you to shut up. If these are govt workers well……they could quit to exercise their rights. Seems to be the current flavor of coercion today.

  2. While I may not agree with the professors philosophicly. They do have a right to promote their viewpoint.

  3. They are state employees. Working against their employer would constitute a conflict of interest. The plaintiffs, who are no doubt Democrats, can find somebody else to testify, somebody not part of the Florida state university system.

    1. Semcgowanjr, I started my comment before noon, and just finished up my thought and posted now, after coming in from cleaning the garage.

      I find your logic impeccable sir.

  4. Jonathan: Finally. You have come down on the side of real academic freedom, i.e., the right of three University of Florida (UF) professors to act as expert witnesses in a case challenging Gov. DeSantis’ new racist voting laws. Among other things the new laws make it more difficult to vote by mail. Democrats, particularly Black voters, more frequently vote by mails then do Republicans. The chair of UF’s board of trustees is a close ally of DeSantis. The idea that a university must be be aligned with the political interests of a governor or any other office holder violates the bedrock of academic freedom. Unfortunately, the UF case is not a one off. In North Carolina the state university system’s Board of Governors recently barred the UNC Chapel Hill School of Law’s Center of Civil Rights from engaging in litigation defending voting rights. One conservative member of the Board complained a lawsuit by the Center was a “waste of taxpayer money”.

    You have wasted a lot of column space discussing alleged censorship and the “free speech” rights of conservative university professors and students. But it’s nice to see you have finally “woke” to the more serious threats to academic freedom all around you. Keep it up!

          1. Bob says:

            “The biggest problem this country has is white liberals.”

            Let me help you out here:

            “White liberals are this country’s biggest problem.”

            See the difference? Now you try it.

  5. University spokesperson, Hessy Fernandez, provided the explanation that “The university did not deny the First Amendment rights or academic freedom . . . Rather, the university denied requests of these full-time employees to undertake outside paid work that is adverse to the university’s interests as a state of Florida institution.” That is certainly a valid reason for excluding Daniel Smith, Michael McDonald, and Sharon Wright Austin, especially since Daniel Smith is employed by the University. If they want to present some leftist viewpoint that internal controls and anti-fraud measures over voting are a bad thing, then they should agree to do so without getting paid by some third party. This Univeristy decision has absolutely nothing to do with free speech or the First Amendment. While it’s certainly understandable that people who favor allowing fraudulent voting practices would also favor having individuals speak on this subject to agree with their desire for fraudulent voting practices to continue unabated, paying them to do so is highly inapprorpriate, to say the least. Why don’t they agree to make their pro-fraudulent voting presentations for free? Just because Daniel Smith, Michael McDonald, and Sharon Wright Austin may be professional presstitutes does not give them the automatic right to get a platform to promote their leftist agenda.

    1. There is no rationale for the denial by a public institution of rights, freedoms, privileges and immunities provided to individuals by the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

      The constitutional rights and freedoms of individuals are superior to the rights of any public organization.

      A private institution retains sole power to “claim and exercise” dominion over its property.

      Americans enjoy the freedoms of speech, thought, religion, belief, assembly, segregation, etc.

      1st Amendment

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      “[Private property is] that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”

      – James Madison

  6. “The university did not deny the First Amendment rights or academic freedom . . . Rather, the university denied requests of these full-time employees to undertake outside paid work that is adverse to the university’s interests as a state of Florida institution.”

    – University of Florida

    This statement constitutes actionable convoluted prevarication and perjury. There is no rationale for the denial by a public institution of rights, freedoms, privileges and immunities provided to individuals by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. This false statement admits the criminal act of denying constitutional rights to employees or contractors by a public institution, whereas a private university constitutes private property, the owners of which retain the sole power to “claim and exercise” dominion.

    “[Private property is] that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”

    – James Madison

  7. Yeah, we really don’t want those pesky experts in constitutional law pointing out how the law is unconstitutional. After, all, Tucker and Hannity aren’t there to counter what they say with ies and the disciples might just start believing the truth.

    1. It is messes like this that we create when the state enters into domains that are not its business.

      This is trivial – there should be no “public” universities.

      Then there is no conflict.

      That said I have zero problems with the professors speaking,
      Lets let everyone speak freely – whether on the right or the left,
      Whether you like what they say or you do not.

      Whether you are a university professor or a media talking head, or just a guy on the street
      You should be free to speak.

      If your words have the power to prove as lies those made by others – let that be tested.

      Let us all judge for ourselves – hearing every voice that we as individuals choose to listen to – not those someone else chooses for us.

      1. but all voices are not heard and so the fact that their voices got cancelled is no different than all the other voices that are being cancelled every day. People are being fired from jobs for merely saying they don’t agree with someone’s point of view. Or from some stupid point of view/ or something they said 15 or 18 years ago. Maybe by happening to law professors they will object not only to their own denial of rights but for others too.

      2. “there should be no “public” universities.”

        The extremity of some of your opinions is striking. I doubt you’ll find any state legislature that agrees with you.

        1. This is not an issue of agreement or opinion. It is one of logic. In fact it is logically correct by several independent arguments.

          We are in the midst of a debate over whether a state employee in public education can be paid to act at odds with that states legislature and executive.

          That problem can not exist if the state does not incorporate education into its domain.

          I would BTW note that atleast in my state – while we have state higher education, the state is increasingly unable to fund much of it, and it is becoming almost entirely tuition supported and state education almost in name only.

          Separately, Robert Barro – the 4th IDEAS RESPEC ranked economist in the world has collected data on government spending and efficiency from all over the world.

          On average 0.65-0.75 of each $1 of government spending is waste.
          Anything that can be done privately, that is currently being done by governent can be done more efficiently privately.

          All but the most elite private schools today – are cheaper – sometimes between 1/2 and 1/4 the cost of public schools.

          When I was much younger the left claimed that too little was being spent on education – particularly in poor inner city schools.
          Today inflation adjusted spending is 4 times what it was then and poor inner city schools have the highest per student spending in the nation.
          While education quality has declined.

          Government is force, and it is unsurprising that it is both a bad idea, and inefficient to use force to do what can be done without force.

          Those on the left fail to grasp that inaddition to all the other costs of the laws and programs they pass, – there is always the additional cost for FORCE. But then there are actual left wing nuts right now who do not merely wish to defund police – but actually abolish them.
          HAve you ever thought of what government is without force ?

          You claim my positions are extreme. Public schools have only been the norm for about 150 years, while education has existed for atleast several thousand.

          It is an odd meaning of extreme that calls normal what has been done for only a tiny fraction of history and what has been the norm for most of history is called extreme ?

          1. “This is not an issue of agreement or opinion.”

            You’re mistaken about that.

            “It is one of logic.”

            Only if one values logic above everything else one might value in designing a state Constitution. But what to value most is a matter of opinion.

            The fact is that there are logical contradictions in constitutions, and the authors accept that, because they do not hold the same values as you.

            For example, the federal Constitution says both that
            “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” and that
            “The Congress shall have Power
            “To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; …
            “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

            These sometimes conflict. Congress has, in fact, passed laws abridging freedom of speech, because it is necessary for the general welfare that, for example, perjury be illegal.

            “It is an odd meaning of extreme that calls normal what has been done for only a tiny fraction of history and what has been the norm for most of history is called extreme ?”

            Slavery was legal for most of history. But I would also say it’s extreme for someone to argue in favor of slavery.

            Bottom line: I don’t care what you think about my opinions, just as you seem not to care what I think about yours.

            1. “But what to value most is a matter of opinion.”

              Only if you sever values from facts — and base them, thereby, on emotions. That, of course, is a Humean fallacy.

              1. No, what to value most is a matter of opinion even if you strongly tether your values to facts.

                Also, emotions matter. It is a fact that we evolved to have emotions because they help ensure that children can reach adulthood and reproduce.

                It is not a choice between facts and emotions, but how both play valuable roles.

                1. “It is not a choice between facts and emotions . . .”

                  No. It’s either-or. Either a person bases his values on facts, or he bases them on emotions. The latter, which is widespread, is *emotionalism* — a philosophy that indulges feelings over reason and facts.

                  1. Nonsense. You are suggesting that it is impossible for a person to draw on both facts and emotions in their reasoning, even though the examples of people doing that abound.

                    1. Using emotions to arrive at a conclusion, to direct an action, or to select a value is *not* reasoning. It’s emotionalism. That people do it (which is virtually self-evident) does not make it right.

                      When it comes to philosophic schools of thought, you are hopelessly muddled,

                    2. Again, Sam, people using both facts AND emotions in deciding what to value is common.

                      You claimed “It’s either-or.” That’s a quote. Your claim is false, and now you’re attempting to move the goalposts to whether it’s advisable instead of just admitting that your claim “It’s either-or” is false.

                      “That people do it (which is virtually self-evident) does not make it right. ”

                      I didn’t say that it’s advisable, or anything of that sort. I said you’re mistaken to insist that “It’s either-or.”

                      Your attempt to move the goalposts means you’re describing yourself by “you are hopelessly muddled.”

            2. “Only if one values logic above everything else”
              Could you have said anything stupider ?

              Logic is like gravity or mathematics.

              It is the rules of existance that we discover – we do not create.

              You can value logic, or not, You can beleive in logic or mathematics, or science or not.

              Your opinion on logic does not alter anything.

              You can beleive that sacrificing virgins will bring about a good harvest – but neither your beleif nor your actions will alter reality.

            3. With respect to the law and constitutions – state or federal.

              They are what they are.

              How you construct them is up to you – you can choose to ignore logic or principles – and trust to lick that what you concoct will work.

              You can choose whatever rules you wish to “interpret” them – again trusting to luck that you will get something that works.

              If you actually want half a chance of averting disaster, then I would suggest some understanding of the experiences of the past 7 thousand years culminating with the scottish enlightment

              I have no doubt that is imperfect and we can do better,, but the odds of random tinkering producing something that works better are near nil.

              In the meantime you are stuck with what we have. Though you are free to change it – through the established processes – which does not include just ignoring it, or pretending it means something different than it does.

              The rule of law – rather than lawlessness leading to anarchy and violence, requires that you abide by constitutions and laws as they are written, and if you do not like them – that you follow the super majoritarian normative processes to change them.

              You can do – as was done in the 2020 election, whatever you please – but not without causing anarchy chaos and violence.

              You seek to blame 1/6 on Trump and republicans. But it was directly caused by the lawless means by which you conducted the election.

              I am sure there is plenty of foundational work in psychology that establishes that if you concoct a system where the rules are constantly changed at random or to favor one group over another without going through super majoritarian normative processes that you get frustration, anger distrust and violence. Just look at the 2016 election. Nothing improper was done there – but because a significant minority of the country beleived there was misconduct, the result was riots and anger and violence and 4 years of stupidity.

              It is incredibly important that elections are conducted so that people can trust them.

              It is important that YOU are able to trust them – but the requirement is not merely that YOU trust them, but that nearly everyone trusts them.
              Otherwise anarchy, chaos and violence.

              With respect to those on the left – if we started from scratch – there is no fundimental law of nature that dictates how elections are conducted.
              We get to decide those things for ourselves. The provisions of election laws and constitutions are not the be all and end all, they are just the product of our experience in what produces results that people are more likely to trust.

              The left values (or pretends to value) voter participation – that is fine, but it is merely a value. Trust in government is more than a value, it is fundimental – because without it you get anarchy, chaos, and violence. Again 1/6 was a predictable outcome of a lawless election and complicit courts.

              You can write laws, constitutions, elections etc however you like. but all ways are not equal.

              It is things like logic – that you eschew and experience that leads us to arrangements that are stable, and produce results that people trust.
              And again – without trust you get anarchy, chaos, and violence.

            4. There are contradictions in the constitution – but far fewer than you assume.

              It is your failure to grasp logic that often leads you to beleive that there is a contradiction when there is not.

              If a games has two rules such as
              You move forward the number of spaces corresponding to the roll of the dice
              If you land on a blue space you move back two.

              Are these rules logically contradictory ?


              Constitutional grants of power – which those on the left like to make infinite are ALL constrained by the other provisions in the constitution.

              The power to tax does NOT mean the power to tax however you wish.
              You can not lay a tax that violates any other provision of the constitution.

              The general welfare clause is constitutionally regarded as part of the preamble – an goal rather than a grant of power.
              But even if you pretend it is a grant of power – it is NOT a grant to do anything that promotes the general welfare.

              Nor is congress free to limit rights such as free speech – merely by asserting the greater good. Enumerated rights are mostly subject to “strict scrutiny” – which is incredibly hard to meet. There is very very little restriction on free speech that is constitutionally permissible.

              Nor is the issue some nonsense about conflicts in the constitution. The reason that restrictions on enumerated rights (it should be all rights) are in very limited instances and very specific ways limitable is because the entire purpose of government is to protect our rights.
              The core of the social contract is that we surrender our RIGHT to initiate violence in return for government protecting us from violence and securing our rights from the violence of others. The enumerated right to speak freely does NOT allow us to direct another person to murder someone. A law meeting the requirements of strict scrutiny that criminalizes speach commanding violence is consistent with the social contracts requirement to protect our rights and to protect us from the violence of others.

            5. No Congress has not passed laws abridging the right to free speech merely relying on “general welfare”.
              Perjury is illegal because it always results in the abridgment of the actual rights of others.

              But lying is NOT illegal, though it sometimes has legal consequences

            6. People have argued in favor of slavery for most of human existance.

              Arguing for slavery today (is there someone doing so ?) is extreme ONLY because judeo christian principles of free will logically result in finding nearly all restrictions on the free will of others inherently immoral. While Free will started to emerge as a fundimental principle with the old testament, the fundimental and immutable nature of free will was not fully understood until the 18th century. And it is that understanding – that white western male scottish enlightenment understanding that the left rejects as inherently racist that lead to the abolition of legal slavery throughout the world STARTING in the white male dominated west.

              Absent the specific evolution of power that the left and Critical Race theory reject as racist – the world would still be universally racist and slavery would remain legal.

              The immorality of slavery that you think that advocating for it is extreme are a product of thousands of years of legal, political and moral evolution that culminated with h scottish enlightenment west that you seek to blame for everything.

            7. Everything is not an opinion.

              Logic is not an opinion.
              Free will is not an opinion.
              Accepting it has consequences – morality requires free will, and though the left is frequently immoral – even immorality requires the existance of morality.
              You said it is extreme to argue for slavery – FALSE, it is not extreme – it is immoral. And we came to understand it is immoral when we grasped that the concept of free will was immutable, and universal.

              Accept free will – but pretend that it is either not universal or immutable and atleast some slavery is moral.

              Logic is not just a value – it is a fundimental requirement if you do not want anarchy, chaos and violence.

              I would note that the reason that we can enslave other animals is because we do not accept that they have free will.
              You may not morally enslave any being that has free will, while you may morally enslave any being that does not.

            8. Calling something “my opinion” – is just an attempt to evade consequences.

              Much of what you call “my opinions” are the culmination 150,000 years of science, mathematics, logic and philosophy
              rejecting it does not make it go away. Nor does it make your “opinion” work.

        2. Truth is not determined by state legislatures.
          The law is.

          Functioning law must conform to the truth.

    2. And you talk about right wing conspiracy theories ?

      So what are Hannity and Carlson doing – sending zombie encoded dog whistles via sub-audible channels in the stream ?

      You are demanding free speech for some college professors – but you want to silence Hannity and Carlson ?

  8. Is the apology to restrict testimony or advocacy, diverse or uniform, “=” or equal, disparate or the same, affirmative discrimination or affirmative action?

  9. I asked yesterday whether Turley would address this significant challenge to freedom of speech (, and I am glad to see that the answer is “yes,” and also glad that he and I agree.

    More background about the voting rights case and the university’s actions:

    Among the striking issues is that the University is arguing “that is adverse to the university’s interests as a state of Florida institution” for these professors to provide expert testimony about voting rights. Its excuse is that “As UF is a state actor, litigation against the state is adverse to UF’s interests.” Despite it being a public university, the litigation does not involve the university, and it’s a significant shift for the university to argue that professors can never do paid work in suits against the state / that such work is always against the university’s interests; it had previously allowed such work and testimony. If, as the university argues, they’re objecting to paid work, the professors could resolve this by volunteering their time, though they may not wish to do that. The professors are arguing that the denial is an attempt to retaliate against them for previously stated views about voting rights.

    1. This is trivial – get government out of education – it is not the business of government.

      With respect to your arguments – I’ greatly prefer to maximize free speech.

      That I would prefer an outcome similar to yours does not make your arguments valid.

      UF is part of the government of Florida. It is perfectly reasonable for any employer to insist that its employees can not remain employees while arguing against it in court.
      Again the solution is trivial – remove IF from the govenrment.

      I would further note that college political science professors are NOT experts on much of anything.
      Nor frankly is their participation relevant.

      The FL voting laws are constitutional or they are not. Evalutating that does not pass through the domain of political science.
      It is first a question of law and constitution – where legislators, lawyers, and judges are the “experts”.
      But ultimately it is a question for FL Citizens. who are free to remove legislators etc. if they do not like or trust their actions.

      You left wing nuts want to rant about 1/6.
      Yet history tells us that is exactly what happens when governments conduct lawless elections that fail to gain the trust of the citizenry.

      Even elections are not the final authority on the constitution and law.
      They are just the last stop before violence.

      1. “You left wing nuts want to rant about 1/6.”

        Calling me a nut will definitely convince me that you’re a good-faith discussant. (sarc)

        1. I doubt anyone is trying to convince you of anything.

          Regardless, the shoe fits.

          Calling Mussolini a fascist is not bad faith.

          If you want credibility – the first step is to post under a name. There is no assumption of credibility to an anonymous post.

          If you do not want to be called a left wing nut – do not manufacture facts to sort your ideology.

          Regardless, you can not legitimately take offense for being insulted so long as you post anonymously.

          1. You are clearly free to hold the opinion that “the shoe fits.” I am clearly free to hold different opinions than you.

            I didn’t say that I took offense. You mistakenly inferred that I took offense.

            If you paid attention, you’d know that what I actually implied was: I don’t consider you a good-faith discussant. I expect that you don’t care what I think of you, and that’s fine, since that cuts both ways.

            1. So you have shifted from I made an argument in “bad faith” to you are probably right but this is only a matter of opinion ?

              It is reasonable to call an assertion of “bad faith” – taking offence.

              Regardless, as you wish to make everything a matter of opinion – it is my opinion that you took offence and I am sticking to that – primarily to end the argument. Why you want to argue over a claim of bad faith being described as taking offence.

            2. Correct, I do not care what your opinion of me is. It would be strange to place any weight on any opinion of an anonymous poster.

              I do not need terms like bad faith to address your posts.
              You start without credibility because you post anonymously and rapidly decline through misrepresentation.

              You would never get a response from me if you were not constantly twisting or evading truth or selling spin.

              No I am not engaged in a good faith discussion with you. That would require YOU to have credibility and to post honestly.

            3. I would note that you have shifted to ad hominem – you have shifted the debate from the issues to the person.

              You rant about good faith and bad faith and whether or not you took offence, and whether I care about your opinion of me.

              None of this has anything to do with the initial argument – i.e. it is all ad hominem fallacy – argument to the person.

              1. “I would note that you have shifted to ad hominem”

                Yes, I responded to YOUR ad hom — when you said “You left wing nuts want to rant about 1/6” — with my own.

                1. The argument was about 1/6 – my remark was at best very weak ad hominem – it was still addressed to the issue being debated.

                  I would further note – ad hominem is NOT a sin – it does not even need to be an insult. It is a Fallacy.
                  That means it is NOT a valid part of a logical argument.
                  But it can exist surrounded by a valid argument.

                  SM and sometime myself call your arguments stupid or idiotic – that is not ad hominem, though it is not argument either, But it can exist inside argument.
                  Sometimes you rather than your arguments are called stupid.
                  That is not an argument, but it may be true.

                  But even calling you a pedophile – would not be defamatory – so long as you post anonymously.

                  I will be happy to agree with any poster here to refrain from personal attacks – if they agree to the same.
                  But I can not do that with anonymous – because there is no means of enforcing your side.
                  I can not even call you out for violating the agreement – because there is no you.

                  While I will agree not to personally insult anyone who agrees not to insult me, that does not extend to not insulting their argument.
                  Nor does it extend to not making generalizations about classes they might be a member of – such as democrats, or lefties.

                  The press does lie – constantly. that is a fact, it is also an insult.
                  Democrats are much more authoritarian than republicans – that is a fact, it is an insult.
                  Both of those remarks have exceptions – but I am not bound to qualify the statements because there are rare exceptions.

  10. They can be called as witnesses to explain or “defend” their research and related writings that they have already completed….no problem with that.

    They cannot be paid collaborators with the actual presentation of the plaintiffs challenge to the Voting Law….as they are full time employees of the State of Florida….no matter who they wish to spin their paid gig at the University.

    I side with the the State on this one.

    To me the issue is the payment for testimony and the direct involvement in preparing the case for which they are being paid to do….and the fact they are State Employees and the case targets the State Government they are employed by.

    Were they not in a paid capacity by the Plaintiff I would support the Professor’s position as he states.

    In business for sure….you take a part time job working for a competitor and you will be confronted with losing your full time job unless your employer grants you permission to work for that competitor.

    1. You missed the part where JT pointed out that university professors testifying against the state is common. What makes this case different?

      1. At issue is the constitutionality of the law.

        To the extent there are subject matter experts on that – those would be lawyers and judges – not political science professors.

    2. There is no research or related writings issue here.

      The constitutionality of the law is being challenged.

      That is a question of the clear meaning of the text of the law and the constitution.

      It is not the domain of subject matter experts.

      Ultimately the law is what the people decide it is.

      56% of americans beleive the election was likely stolen.

      Whether that is true or not, that is about 5 times the numbers necescary to require government to improve trust in elections.

  11. Let the Professors speak. I should note that the NYT and people such as JH fail to show outrage when conservative or Republican speakers are muzzled, either by the mob or by a university administration

  12. Censors exist in both parties.

    We are all fighting for the 1stA; unfortunately some posters like Justice Holmes see this as a chance to zing DeSantis, the Republican party, and Turley.

    It is partisan hacks like JH who prefer to score political points that dissipate our efforts.

    We see the same attitude from other Lefty posters who will abandon principles to play politics.

    The politicians love these partisan hacks.

    1. Monument, it seems as though I agree with you every single time! Keep up the good work and don’t let contrarians like JH bother you. JH will disagree with whatever Turley says as he comes to the site to comment 25 times a day. Someonbe told me yesterday to ignore JH and Anonymous and that is what I am trying to do going forward. Why argue with someone who is just here to argue?

    2. What part of this article is an abandonment of principles? It is a non-partisan statement of academic freedom and a commentary on the departure from norms.

  13. Dear Professor Turley, Sadly, the party of DiSantis, the one you usually support an defend on this thread, is the one demanding this rule and control. Of course whether it’s DiSantis defunding schools who dare to protect kids or professors it’s the same role story. I note that you don’t even mention the Republican Party in your essay but of course you wouldn’t.

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