Why did a judge compare Florida to the ‘Upside Down’ from ‘Stranger Things’?
‘Like the heroine in Stranger Things, this Court is once again asked to pull Florida back from the upside down,’ the judge writes.
Netflix’s hit show “Stranger Things” explores an alternative reality called the “Upside Down,” a dimension that depicts a dark and haunting mirrored version of our own world riddled with violent creatures. This was the analogy Florida Judge Mark Walker used Thursday when he temporarily blocked Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Stop WOKE Act.
DeSantis said the act will give schools, businesses and the community the tools to “fight back against woke indoctrination.” It proposes banning public institutions from teaching or training in critical race theory, a legal framework that studies the influence of racism in the justice system. However, prohibiting schools and companies from teaching critical race theory would be unconstitutional, Walker said.
About the Stop WOKE Act
DeSantis claims that critical race theory and certain diversity training makes white people feel bad for historic wrongdoings, according to The Hill. If passed, the act will prohibit critical race theory from being taught in schools, and will bar businesses from offering diversity and inclusion training.
“In Florida we are taking a stand against the state-sanctioned racism that is critical race theory,” he said. “We won’t allow Florida tax dollars to be spent teaching kids to hate our country or to hate each other.”
Is the Stop WOKE Act unconstitutional?
Walker ruled that DeSantis’ law is unconstitutional. Walker states that the diversity training held by businesses falls within speech that is protected by the U.S. Constitution. He temporarily blocked the law, saying that it “unconstitutionally discriminates on the basis of viewpoint in violation of the First Amendment and is impermissibly vague in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
The judge says that DeSantis’s law is an “upside down” version of the First Amendment by barring the private sector from “burdening speech” but allowing the state to “burden speech freely.”
“Recently, Florida has seemed like a First Amendment upside down,” Walker said in a 44-page preliminary injunction. “Now, like the heroine in Stranger Things, this Court is once again asked to pull Florida back from the upside down.”
Walker states that the civil right DeSantis is trying to protect is already protected by the Florida Civil Rights Act. The Florida Civil Rights act prohibits employers from discriminating against any individual on the basis of their “race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status.”