Court finds California college illegally censored conservatives

August 5, 2023

A federal court has found that a community college in California censored conservative students in violation of the Constitution. 

The college, according to the Washington Examineris Clovis Community College, which has campuses in both Clovis and Fresno.

The ruling against the school comes from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court published the ruling on Thursday.

Background

The incident that led to this court case stems from November 2021. The Daily Caller reports:

Several conservative students acquired permission to post political posters on bulletin boards inside campus buildings in November of 2021 at Clovis Community College, which were taken down after complaints . . .

The outlet goes on to report that it was the school's administrators who had the flyers taken down. The administrators claimed that the flyers violated a school policy.

The Examiner reports:

The college's president, Lori Bennett, had ordered the flyers removed, citing a previously unpublished rule that said flyers had to "double as club announcements." Internal emails revealed that Bennett had fabricated the reason specifically in response to the group's flyers, telling a subordinate, "If you need a reason, you can let them know that [we] agreed they aren’t club announcements."

The flyers, according to the lawsuit, contained anti-communist messages.

The lawsuit also alleges that administrators denied the students' request to post anti-abortion flyers on campus bulletin boards.

The latest

Last year, a lower court ruled in favor of the students, finding that Clovis's policy was "facially overbroad under the First Amendment and unconstitutionally vague under the Fourteenth Amendment."

With regard to the policy being too vague, what this basically means is that the policy is such that the average person would not be able to tell to whom/what it applies. And, with regard to the policy being overbroad, what this basically means is that the policy targets protected conduct.

Clovis appealed the lower court decision, which is how the case made it to the Ninth Circuit. Now, the Ninth Circuit has upheld the lower court's decision.

"The district court did not err in determining that there was likely a substantial amount of protected speech that would be potentially chilled by the Flyer Policy," the court wrote.

In response, the college put out a statement, saying:

Today’s opinion issued by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals addressed a singular issue: a posting procedure that had been changed months ago by Clovis Community College (CCC). The ruling specifically addressed one sentence from CCC’s prior procedure. Concerns about that policy were resolved when CCC changed the procedure. The campus continues to respect the Free Speech rights of all students. Nothing in the opinion addresses any of the allegations against the District employees.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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