Race instruction law kept on hold

An appeals court denied the state's request to lift an injection that prevents the law from going into effect during a legal challenge.

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  • | 4:00 p.m. March 17, 2023
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A federal appeals court on Thursday, March 16, kept on hold a controversial Florida law that restricts the way race-related concepts can be taught in universities. 

Attorneys for the state went to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in November issued a preliminary injunction against the law, finding that it violated First Amendment rights. 

The state asked the Atlanta-based appeals court for a stay of the injunction — which would have allowed the law’s restrictions to be in effect while the legal battle played out. 

But a three-judge panel of the appeals court issued a two-paragraph order Thursday denying the state’s request for a stay. The appeals court did not explain its decision. 

The law has been a priority of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who dubbed it the “Stop Wrongs To Our Kids and Employees Act,” or “Stop WOKE Act.” 

It lists a series of race-related concepts and says it would constitute discrimination if students are subjected to instruction that “espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates or compels” them to believe the concepts. 

In issuing the injunction, Walker described the law as “positively dystopian.” 

The law also placed restrictions on how race-related concepts can be addressed in workplace training. 

Walker in September issued an injunction against the workplace-training portion of the law, and an appeal of that ruling also is pending.


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