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Texas Courts: Pipe Down Profs, Campus Carry Holds

From — A fed­er­al judge on Mon­day refused to issue a pre­lim­i­nary injunc­tion in the law­suit by three Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas pro­fes­sors who do not want legal con­cealed car­ry in their class­es.

With the state’s new cam­pus car­ry law tak­ing effect this month, the pro­fes­sors kept a promise of lit­i­ga­tion and filed suit in fed­er­al court in July seek­ing a fed­er­al injunc­tion on cam­pus car­ry nam­ing Texas Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Pax­ton, UT Pres­i­dent Gre­go­ry Fenves and mem­bers of the school’s Board of Regents in their offi­cial capac­i­ty, as defen­dants.

Pax­ton, in response, filed paper­work in oppo­si­tion to the pro­fes­sors’ action ear­li­er this month, call­ing the suit friv­o­lous and the law con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly sound.

Now, with class­es set to begin for the 2016 Long Ses­sion on Wednes­day, the court has declined to lend enough mer­it to the pro­fes­sors’ argu­ment to war­rant block­ing cam­pus car­ry while the case unfolds.

It appears to the court that nei­ther the Texas Leg­is­la­ture nor the Board of Regents has over­stepped its legit­i­mate pow­er to deter­mine where a licensed indi­vid­ual may car­ry a con­cealed hand­gun in an aca­d­e­m­ic set­ting,” wrote U.S. Dis­trict Judge Earl Leroy Yeakel III, a UT alum­ni who was appoint­ed to the bench in 2003 by Pres­i­dent George W. Bush, in his rul­ing Mon­day.

The fac­ul­ty mem­bers, three female lib­er­al arts pro­fes­sors whose class­work some­times touch­es on con­tro­ver­sial sub­jects such as abor­tion and unwant­ed preg­nan­cies, argue the car­ry of guns in their class­es will chill dis­cus­sion, thus hin­der­ing their right to free speech.

Yeakel, who in 2013 ruled that abor­tion restric­tions enact­ed by the state of Texas were uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, didn’t bite on that argu­ment.

The court has searched the jurispru­dence of this coun­try from the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion for­ward and has found no prece­dent for Plain­tiffs’ propo­si­tion that there is a right of aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom so broad that it allows them such autonomous con­trol of their class­rooms both phys­i­cal­ly and aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly that their con­cerns over­ride deci­sions of the leg­is­la­ture and the gov­ern­ing body of the insti­tu­tion that employs them,” he not­ed.

While the court has not heard oral argu­ments in the case, Yeakel warned the like­li­hood of the case being suc­cess­ful using the cur­rent log­ic is slim.

Their First Amend­ment claim is and must be bot­tomed on their right to speak and teach freely. Nei­ther the Cam­pus Car­ry Law nor the Cam­pus Car­ry Pol­i­cy for­bids them from doing so,” he said. “This is fatal to their attempt at this stage in the pro­ceed­ings to estab­lish a sub­stan­tial like­li­hood that their case will suc­ceed on the mer­its.”

Pax­ton wel­comed the news from the court.

I am pleased, but not sur­prised, that the Court denied the request to block Texas’ cam­pus car­ry law,” he said in a state­ment issued through his office. “There is sim­ply no legal jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to deny licensed, law-abid­ing cit­i­zens on cam­pus the same mea­sure of per­son­al pro­tec­tion they are enti­tled to else­where in Texas. The right to keep and bear arms is guar­an­teed for all Amer­i­cans, includ­ing col­lege stu­dents, and I will always stand ready to pro­tect that right.”

In speak­ing with the Texas Tri­bune, Renea Hicks, the lawyer for the pro­fes­sors, said he was “dis­ap­point­ed” by the deci­sion.

We’ll just have to pull togeth­er more facts for tri­al and hope things go smooth­ly on cam­pus in the mean­time,” said Hicks. “Some­times, pub­lic poli­cies are so ter­ri­ble and extreme that it takes the law and courts a lit­tle while to catch up.”

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ER1C ☠

ER1C ☠

Dedicated Second Amendment Advocate, At-Home Gunsmith, Designer, Blogger, Video Guy, Author, Business Owner & ReloadOne Member.

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