On July 16, 2008, the ADF Center for Academic Freedom filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, on behalf of Ms. Sheldon against officials of the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District. The College moved to dismiss the case and the Court denied the College’s motion on November 25, 2009. The Court rejected the College’s motion because it found that a “teacher’s instructional speech is protected by the First Amendment.”
The Supreme Court has yet to determine the full extent of professors’ free speech rights in the classroom. This case is the first to examine directly the question in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and it rendered a promising ruling in favor of protecting a professor’s right to free speech in the classroom.
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