College campuses are often seen as a battleground for the First Amendment. On Monday, Reps. Jim Jordan and Kat Cammack announced the creation of a campus free speech caucus with the intention of raising awareness among their colleagues about the challenges that many students, professors, and administrators alike face when exercising their First Amendment rights on campus. Jordan and Cammack will partner with Young America's Foundation on the initiative:
“The First Amendment is under attack on campuses across the country,” said Congressman Jim Jordan. “Every day, students and faculty are forced to self-censor out of fear that they will be ‘canceled’ by the mob. The Campus Free Speech Caucus, led by Rep. Kat Cammack and inspired by YAF, will work with Congress to push back on ‘woke’ cancel culture and defend freedom for Americans everywhere.”
“I’m so thrilled to be leading the Campus Free Speech Caucus with my colleague and friend Rep. Jim Jordan,” said Rep. Kat Cammack. “Together with YAF, we’re sending the message that free speech is not only a constitutional right but also a core freedom that must be preserved on college campuses across the country. At a time when university leadership and students are caving to the pressure of liberal progressivism, my colleagues in Congress will stand up for the First Amendment and ensure all have the right to exercise their thoughts and ideas freely and without persecution.”
.@Jim_Jordan and @RepKatCammack have partnered with YAF to launch the Congressional Campus Free Speech Caucus to bring national awareness to the ongoing threat against the First Amendment: pic.twitter.com/F4YhGFdCsY— YAF (@yaf) June 14, 2021
The creation of the caucus couldn't have come at a better time. Unfortunately, while the government is supposed to protect free speech, attacks on the First Amendment oftentimes come from the government itself.
As the Alliance Defending Freedom's Ryan Bangert explained for The Federalist, the Biden Administration has walked back its support for religious exemptions to certain Title IX rules after backlash from the Left in response to a brief that the DOJ filed defending relevant policies established during the Trump Administration:
Stunned by this sudden revolt, the DOJ quickly backpedaled. The day after the filing, the DOJ amended its brief, eliminating any mention of shared objectives, dropping its commitment to defend the “current application” of the exemption to religious colleges, and casually noting that the religious colleges could always seek intervention later “if it transpires” that the DOJ is “not fully defending” the exemption as applied them.
Amid this tour de force in obfuscation, the DOJ made one thing clear: the Department of Education is reviewing its Title IX regulations to ensure their consistency with the Biden administration’s “policy on guaranteeing an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex.” Also, “until that process is complete,” the DOJ noted, “it would be premature to conclude that the government is an inadequate representative.”
As Bangert explains, the DOJ's backtracking is unsurprising when considering the stances the Biden Administration has taken thus far:
Those in power—particularly those seeking to advance “social justice” and implement “critical theories”—brook no dissent, tolerate no diversity of thought, and give no quarter to their ideological opponents. That totalitarian impulse contradicts our nation’s foundational commitment to freedom of conscience, thought, and speech. It is fundamentally un-American.
That impulse cannot be allowed to trample accommodations and exemptions for religious persons and organizations that enable them to participate fully in the public square. The Biden administration and its DOJ should uphold the law, not ignore and rewrite it. And they must reject the disingenuous invitation of radical leftists to pit faith against freedom.
These Republicans should be applauded for their willingness to stand against this administration's attacks on free speech.