On Monday, Heather reported on a federal district court’s recent ruling in Lopez v. Candaele, et al. upholding a preliminary injunction against the Los Angeles Community College District’s speech code. The speech code is nearly identical to one struck down by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in DeJohn v. Temple University. The Student Press Law Center interviewed me about the decision along with Kevin Jeter, Esq. (in-house counsel for the District). Here’s what SPLC reports Mr. Jeter said:
Kevin Jeter, in-house counsel for the LACCD, said the district is pursuing the case because the wording in its speech code was based on California law. The debate is about the constitutionality of the speech code suggested by the state legislature, he said.
“It has to do with whether or not the district was right in following the law,” Jeter said. “The question is; ‘can you be sued for doing what the law tells you to do?’ I think the fundamental answer is no … even if the law is wrong.”
But California law does not require the District to use a particular definition of harassment in community college speech codes. In fact, immediately after the preliminary injunction hearing, the District filed papers with the Court notifying it of a “new” harassment policy that had allegedly been in place for a year. This policy does not use the harassment language purportedly required by California law.
Yesterday, the District filed a notice with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, indicating that it intends to pursue an appeal of the preliminary injunction ruling–and defend policy language it believes is mandatory under California law, but which its allegedly “new” policy does not contain.