A federal judge in Florida ruled Thursday that a law pushed by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that restricts conversations about race in schools and the workplace is unconstitutional.
In a 44-page ruling blocking parts of the law, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said Florida’s Individual Freedom Act (IFA), better known as the “Stop WOKE Act,” “discriminates on the basis of viewpoint in violation of the law.” First Amendment and is impermissibly vague in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
The law, which went into effect on July 1, is a key component of DeSantis’ war on “woke ideology” and was intended to prevent mandatory teaching or work activities that suggest a person is privileged or oppressed depending necessarily on their race, color, sex or national origin.
Two Florida-based employers who want to require their staff to attend diversity and inclusion training, and a consultant who provides such training, filed for the requirement on the parts of the law that deal with corporate training.
Walker said the law is “backwards” when it comes to the First Amendment because it allows the state to burden free speech.
“If Florida really believes we live in a post-racial society, then let him argue. But he can’t win the argument by muzzleing his opponents. Because, without justification, the IFA attacks ideas, not behavior,” he wrote .
The judge also noted that the court would decline to issue a stay of the injunction pending a potential appeal by the state.
CNN has reached out to DeSantis’ office for comment on the ruling.
The ruling comes amid DeSantis’ latest attack on “ideological corporate power”: As early as next week, Florida pension fund managers could be barred from considering the social impact of their financial decisions.