The Alabama Center for Law and Liberty (ACLL) is teaming up with the conservative legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to battle against a free speech policy at the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) that some have deemed 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 is in response to a UAH speech policy that limits most student speech to small "speech zones" and requires that students obtain permits to speak on campus three business days in advance.
According to the lawsuit, UAH's policy violates the Alabama Constitution and statutory law in the state.
ADF legal counsel Mathew Hoffmann argued before the Alabama Supreme Court in September that students at public universities in Alabama are guaranteed the right to speak outdoors on campus grounds by Alabama law.
"University campuses should be encouraging free speech, not stifling it with burdensome and illegal rules like limiting speech to certain zones and requiring students to get a permit from college administrators before sharing their views," Hoffmann said. "We hope the Alabama Supreme Court will affirm the right of students with Young Americans for Liberty to exercise their freedoms under state law."
The lawsuit also claims that UAH's permit policy allows universal administrators to pick and 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 ADF's case. According to the ACLL, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Parker commended the brief.
"I am incredibly honored that ADF would ask ACLL to partner with it as its local law firm in this case," said ACLL President Matt Clark. "ADF has done an excellent job defending free speech across the country at different colleges, and we look forward to advocating for YAL together in this case."
"Alliance Defending Freedom is happy to partner with allies across the country that fight to protect the First Amendment rights of all Americans, and we are grateful the Alabama Center for Law and Liberty is working with us on this case," said Gregg Walters, senior counsel at ADF. "All Alabamians should care about this case and realize its importance to protect free speech across the state. Alabama law is clear: students don't need a permit from college officials to speak on campus, and we are hopeful that the court will recognize this as the case continues."
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.