The Alabama Center for Law and Liberty (ACLL) is teaming up with conservative legal advocacy Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to fight a free speech policy at the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) that some see as a violation of the Alabama Constitution .
The ADF sued the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) in 2021 on behalf of the UAH chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) and UAH YAL President Joshua Greer. The lawsuit comes in response to a UAH speech policy that restricts most students’ speech to small “speaking zones” and requires that students be given three business days’ notice to speak on campus.
According to the lawsuit, the UAH’s policies violate the Alabama Constitution and state law.
ADF Counsel Mathew Hoffmann argued in September in the Alabama Supreme Court that students at Alabama public universities are guaranteed the right to speak outdoors on campus, as required by Alabama law.
“Universities should encourage free speech, not stifle it with onerous and illegal rules like restricting speech to certain zones and requiring students to obtain approval from university administrators before expressing their views,” Hoffmann said. “We hope that the Alabama Supreme Court will uphold the right of students with Young Americans for Liberty to exercise their liberties under state law.”
The lawsuit also alleges that UAH’s permissions policy allows universal administrators to choose which views are allowed on campus.
The Alabama Supreme Court reinstated the case after the trial court dismissed the lawsuit and the ADF appealed.
The ACLL filed a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of the ADF case. According to the ACLL, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Tom Parker commended the brief.
“I am incredibly honored that ADF would ask ACLL to work with him as a local law firm on this case,” said ACLL President Matt Clark. “ADF has done an excellent job defending freedom of expression at various colleges across the country and we look forward to advocating together for YAL on this occasion.”
“Alliance Defending Freedom is pleased to work with allies across the country fighting to protect the First Amendment rights of all Americans, and we are grateful to have the Alabama Center for Law and Liberty working with us on this case,” said Gregg Walters, senior attorney at ADF. “All Alabamaans should care about this case and recognize its importance in protecting free speech across the state. Alabama law is clear: Students do not need approval from college officials to speak on campus, and we hope the court will honor that as the case proceeds.”
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