The US Supreme Court will not hear the student free speech dispute; case involving a lawsuit against ASU officials
The United States Supreme Court on Friday refused to review the immunity standard that protected Arkansas State University officials who had been sued in a legal dispute over free speech rights of a student.
The Defending Freedom Alliance filed a petition in February asking the country’s highest court to reconsider a free speech lawsuit that was dismissed in 2019.
The Arizona-based conservative rights group – which has successfully argued other cases in the United States Supreme Court – claimed questions remained unresolved after the 8th Circuit appeals court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by an ASU student and a chapter of Turning Point USA, a conservative group with chapters in high schools and colleges across the country.
“We are happy to win once again as we did in the Magistrates’ Court and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeal,” ASU system spokesman Jeff Hankins said on Friday in a statement. communicated.
In October 2017, Ashlyn Hoggard, then an ASU student, and a representative from Turning Point were told by an ASU administrator that they could not have an information table in a reserved area. to the “deposit” by registered student organizations.
Policy changes were cited in a U.S. district court order dismissing the case in 2019, but the Defending Freedom Alliance has called for a review of the immunity standard for public university officials, particularly in First Amendment business.
The 8th Circuit opinion in the case states that “the application of the filing policy against Hoggard on October 11, 2017 was unreasonable and unconstitutional”, but that the defendants named in the lawsuit – including members of the council of ASU administration – “may reasonably not have understood this at the time.
In 2018, Betsy DeVos, then Secretary of Education for the United States, discussed the dispute as part of a speech criticizing actions taken by some college administrators regarding free speech on campuses.
The ASU System hired David C. Frederick, a Washington, DC-based lawyer, to defend against the Supreme Court’s petition from the advocacy group.
Frederick’s 27-page brief submitted in April said the case “concerns an isolated episode in which ASU officials enforced a now repealed policy limiting the ability to set up tables outside a student union to students. registered student organizations ”.