Florida man claims “chilling effect” on free speech….

Today we conclude our review of the Florida case in which the Moms for Liberty and four of its members complained of how the district conducted “public comment.”  The third argument they made was that the board’s enforcement of standards of decorum was having a “chilling effect” on members of the group who wished to speak. 

Nope.  There were “more than a hundred times in which Moms for Liberty members spoke unimpeded.” Of the four plaintiffs, one never attempted to speak, two spoke often and were only interrupted once and only one was interrupted more than once and tossed out of the meeting.  That ejection occurred only after multiple warnings and after the speaker had exceeded his allotted time and “veered into other topics irrelevant to the discussion.”

I found it interesting that the “Mom” who was interrupted more than once and was once ejected from the meeting was a “Florida man” and therefore, not a “mom.”  Apparently the organization is inclusive in its membership requirements. 

One other issue came up that has occasionally arisen in Texas districts—limiting the number of people in the room.  The court:

As to Plaintiffs’ passing assertion that they were unable to enter one meeting because of space limitations, attendees could still wait outside for their turn where audio of the meeting was being played, so their speech was not actually restricted.

It’s Moms for Liberty v. Brevard Public Schools, decided by the 11th Circuit in an “unpublished” opinion on November 21, 2022.  The District Court opinion was decided on January 24, 2022 and can be found at 582 F.Supp.3d 1214. 


Got a question or comment for the Dawg?  Let me hear from you at jwalsh@wabsa.com