We have become accustomed to losing Constitutional cases. It has become the norm for judges to get it wrong. Whether the topic is religion, sodomite unions, or free speech, it has been as if we were reading a different document than the federal judges. But they got one right.
A federal judge has ruled against a policy in which students at North Carolina State University must obtain a permit before expressing themselves as a violation of the First Amendment.
The case was filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of Grace Christian Life, who were prevented from preaching religious doctrine on campus.
This would have appeared to be a no-brainer. If you are free to speak your mind, then there cannot be a restriction. Having to obtain a permit to exercise your right means it is no longer a right. And the rule has the potential to do even more damage to liberty.
This rule by the university has the potential to shut down particular views and opinions. If a group or organization was promoting an idea or political view that the university did not care for, they could simply pull their permit. Then punish them for not having a “Free Speech Permit” if they continued. This means the university would have a means to effectively silencing that group.
And this is hinted at by Grace.
Grace Christian Life also suggested the policy was applied solely as a means of controlling dissident conservative voices, with other groups reportedly promoting freely without harassment from university administrators.
Though this is unsubstantiated, it looks as if this was the very design of the rule. If you are a lover of free speech, why would you make up such a rule? If you put in place rules, you mean to enforce them.
The university has said that it will not appeal and will abide by the ruling. They got it right for now but do not blink. This had been tried at other universities, and they will try it again.