Judge Rules Professor’s Opinion Columns Are Not Protected by the First Amendment

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A federal judge ruled Monday that nationally syndicated opinion columns written by a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington are not protected by the First Amendment because he referred to them on a promotion application.

ADF attorneys argue that the university refused to promote Dr. Mike Adams to full professor because of his religious beliefs and political viewpoints, as espoused through his columns.  They are considering their options for appealing the decision.

“Christian professors should not be discriminated against because of their beliefs.  No university should refuse promotion to an accomplished professor simply because it disagrees with his religious and political views,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence.  “We disagree with the court’s assessment that Dr. Adams’ speech is somehow not protected by the Constitution.  Opinion columns are classic examples of free speech protected by the First Amendment, and mentioning them on a promotion application does not change this fact.”

Adams frequently received accolades from his colleagues after the university hired him as an assistant professor in 1993 and promoted him to associate professor in 1998 when he was an atheist.  However, intrusive investigations, baseless accusations, and the denial of promotion to full professor followed his conversion to Christianity in 2000, even though his scholarly output surpassed that of almost all of his colleagues.

ADF attorneys representing Adams sued UNCW in April 2007, arguing that he was harassed and denied a promotion because his Christian beliefs did not coincide with the political and philosophical stance of his superiors.  The court denied the university’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit in 2008.

The summary judgment order in the case Adams v. The Trustees of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington was issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Southern Division.

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9 Responses to “Judge Rules Professor’s Opinion Columns Are Not Protected by the First Amendment”

  1. Richard Says:

    Keep up the fight! UNCW is trying to control the minds of our young people and Dr. Adams has a right to speak as he sees fit. Dr. Adams columns are not only informative, but often entertaining as well. Humor is often found in the truth.

  2. Donna Alberts Says:

    This is just another way that the government is trying to stop Christians from speaking. This ruling is completely against The Constitution’s right of free speech. I hope that this will be appealed, or otherwise anytime a Christian writes a column of opinion, it can be censored.

  3. Christopher Says:

    What makes this judges religion superior to Christianity? We seem to be missing the obvious. There is no non-religious realm of existence. There is no realm of neutrality. If we as Christians assume that Humanism, in whatever form it takes, is a “neutral” realm, we will continue to lose in the battles of our present culture. Think about it. Our nation is at stake.

  4. Troy Says:

    The truth does not require you to believe it inorder for it to be the truth. All humans are flawed, only God is perfect. Never surrender, fight the good fight.

  5. Linda Says:

    we are in deep trouble!

    • Ashlet Says:

      I see your deep trouble and raise you deep dung.

      Yeah, it’s another step to the hell in a handbasket we created for ourselves.

      I do think that this lawsuit was inevitable. Even if Adams declined on referring to his columns on the application, someone would’ve put two and two together and think “Dr. Adams? The same professor who had those columns?” Cue hell breaking loose.

  6. Chris B Says:

    If the University of North Carolina will denounce all Federal funding, maybe they can escape the First Amendment. But there is still the state constitution to deal with. What is wrong with this judge? If this were California, I would expect such a ruling from the 9th Jerkit Court of Shlemiels, but this is the South! This will be overturned, definitely, because the university is an arm of the government.

  7. Dot Says:

    Mike, keep up the good work. It is true that this school is against anyone or anything that has moral beliefs. It is disgusting how they think they can take away a person’s first amendment rights. God bless and keep it up.

  8. Bill Merrell Says:

    This is just one more example of a judge who is over-stepping the Constitution. It is also an attempt to silence Christians, and thus to silence Christianity. The suit needs to pressed, and the judge needs to be re-called or impeached.

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