Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer has obtained legal representation and has formally offered University of Florida President Kent Fuchs a last chance to avoid a court showdown. Spencer has previously defeated Auburn University’s attempt to deny his right of free speech. And the Alt-Right won a court battle against Charlottesville, Virginia officials who sought to shut down the Unite the Right rally in defense of the city’s besieged statue of General Robert E. Lee. He now seeks UF to allow him to speak at an event on campus.
Tampa Bay Times reports that Spencer has found a Leftist attorney who actually believes in free speech:
The Gainesville lawyer fighting for Richard Spencer’s chance to speak at the University of Florida says that, politically speaking, he’s about as far left of his white nationalist client as he could imagine.
…On behalf of client Cameron Padgett, the event organizer, Edinger sent university officials a formal notice on Thursday, giving them one more chance to let Spencer speak — or UF will be taken to federal court.
University officials said they are weighing their next steps and may respond as soon as Friday. President Kent Fuchs has vowed that UF will stand its ground.
“We are prepared to vigorously defend our decision,” he wrote to students this week. “The safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority.”
…Legal experts have said UF likely faces an uphill battle in a legal system with robust protections for free speech, particularly speech that has not yet been uttered.
Auburn University tried to deny Spencer a venue this spring, but was ultimately forced to host him after Padgett filed an injunction and a federal judge intervened on First Amendment grounds.
In his complaint, Padgett called Auburn’s attempt to block Spencer a “heckler’s veto,” in which speech is stifled in anticipation of a hostile audience.
“Various minority advocacy groups of Jews, Blacks and immigrants and left-wing/liberal groups demanded that no forum be afforded for the expression of views that contradict their own,” read Padgett’s complaint.
When Spencer eventually visited Auburn, he talked about free speech.
If UF doesn’t change its mind, Edinger, the Gainesville attorney, plans to file for injunction on Spencer’s behalf in a matter of days. He is already drafting the paperwork.
Alabama. Virginia. Florida. The front lines of our struggle are in Dixie. The future of our people will be decided here.