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Judge partially blocks DeSantis’ anti-‘woke’ law

<i>Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press</i><br/>Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses attendees during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses attendees during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit

By Joe Sutton, CNN

A federal judge in Florida on Thursday ruled that a law pushed by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis restricting conversations around race in schools and the workplace is unconstitutional.

In a 44-page ruling blocking enforcement of parts of the law, US District Judge Mark Walker said that Florida’s Individual Freedom Act (IFA), better known as the “Stop WOKE Act,” “discriminates on the basis of viewpoint in violation of the First Amendment and is impermissibly vague in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

The law, which took effect on July 1, is a key component of DeSantis’ war on “woke ideology,” and was intended to prevent teachings or mandatory workplace activities that suggest a person is privileged or oppressed based necessarily on their race, color, sex or national origin.

Two Florida-based employers who want to require their staff attend diversity and inclusion trainings, and a consultant who provides such instruction, requested the injunction on the portions of the law dealing with corporate trainings.

Walker said the law is “upside down” when it comes to the First Amendment because it allows the state to burden freedom of speech.

“If Florida truly believes we live in a post-racial society, then let it make its case. But it cannot win the argument by muzzling its opponents. Because, without justification, the IFA attacks ideas, not conduct,” he wrote.

The judge also noted that the court would refuse to issue a stay of the injunction while a potential appeal from the state is pending.

CNN has reached out to DeSantis’ office for a comment on the ruling.

The ruling comes amid DeSantis’ latest attack on “ideological corporate power” — as soon as next week, Florida pension fund managers could be barred from considering the social impact of their financial decisions.

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