ACLU suing the State of Florida
From today's Miami Herald
The recently passed Florida law that essentially bans state academic travel to Cuba promised to escalate into a constitutional battle when Gov. Jeb Bush signed it into law last month.Tell me Mr. Marshall where it says in the constitution that taxpayer money must be used to support travel. Anywhere in the world. I'll await your reply but I doubt I'll get one.
The American Civil Liberties Union, representing several professors from state universities, filed a lawsuit against Florida officials in federal court, claiming the travel ban is unconstitutional. The group also demands a temporary injunction to prevent the law from taking effect while the case is in court.
''This act is terribly misdirected,'' Randall Marshall, legal director of the ACLU of Florida, said of the new law. ``This is unconstitutional, and we hope to have this law struck down very shortly.''
The issue at hand is a state bill Bush signed into law in May -- sponsored by state Rep. David Rivera of Miami -- that prohibits state universities from using any money or resources to promote, plan, administer or fund travel to Cuba. That means that any support services, such as help from secretaries, computers or fax machines at state universities can't be devoted to Cuba travel. The law's critics say it essentially makes it impossible for professors and researchers to travel to Cuba, even using donations from private organizations.This is almost as idiotic as Mr. Marshall's statement. These scholars can still travel, they just won't be getting any state funding. If students don't come and study for that reason they're fools.
The law also prohibits private universities from using state money to fund travel to Cuba.
The bill has put some prominent Cuban-American academics at odds with Cuban-American state lawmakers who want to maintain a hard line against the government of Fidel Castro.
The new law prohibits spending state money on any aspect of organizing a trip to any of the five nations on the U.S. State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.
Other plaintiffs named in the suit include the faculty senate of FIU; Jose Alvarez, professor emeritus at the University of Florida; Carmen Diana Deere, director and professor at the University of Florida's Center for Latin American Studies; Houman Sadri, associate professor at the University of Central Florida; and Noel Smith, curator of Latin American and Caribbean Art at the University of South Florida.
The academics worry that the travel ban will discourage top students who have an interest in studying Cuba or other countries on the list from remaining at Florida schools.
This is just scare tactics by those opposed to the bill. Another very weak argument.
The governor said he was not surprised that the ACLU filed suit against the bill.The governor in spite of a past knucklehead award is usually a smart man. Upset some liberal interest group in a small way and you'll get sued. Its part of a nasty cycle in the governing of America today.
''The courts will sort it out,'' Bush said. ``I think it's good policy; if the courts decide otherwise, we'll yield.''
The Miami Herald article's headline should also be noted. It's titled- 'tate sued over Cuba-travel ban'. It is totally misleading, no ban was passed into law. About the use of taxpayer money. I blogged earlier about this issue here. My opinion hasn't changed.
Message to the ACLU- Get a life!
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