For Immediate Release
National Lawyers Guild Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Professor Ward Churchill
NEW YORK - The National Lawyers Guild filed an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief in the Colorado Court of Appeals on February 18 in the case of Churchill v. The University of Colorado in support of the tenured professor who was fired over constitutionally-protected statements.
In the brief, the Guild argues that politically-motivated, wrongful discharges are a threat to academic freedom and the First Amendment rights of all university faculty members. Universities are traditionally a haven for free speech, but allowing the termination of faculty over unpopular, but constitutionally-protected, comments will have a chilling effect on campuses nationwide. The brief notes, "The suppression of free inquiry and critical thinking vitiates the First Amendment and undermines the foundation of higher learning in this country."
The Board of Regents of the University of Colorado launched an ad hoc investigation into all of Professor Churchill's writings and public statements after he wrote a post-9/11 op-ed critical of U.S. foreign policy. This is part of an alarming trend, particularly on campuses, by reactionary forces to persecute and expel progressives who voice dissent.
The brief was submitted in conjunction with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Latina/o Critical Legal Theory, Inc, and the Society of American Law Teachers, as well as several individual attorneys.
The National Lawyers Guild is dedicated to the need for basic and progressive change in the structure of our political and economic system. Through its members--lawyers, law students, jailhouse lawyers and legal workers united in chapters and committees--the Guild works locally, nationally and internationally as an effective political and social force in the service of the people.