By Louis K. Bonham
The attorneys for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton continue to bring the pain in the lawsuit brought by three University of Texas professors to invalidate campus carry at that school.
After trashing the plaintiffs for essentially abandoning their wacky “academic freedom” claim (on which I think plaintiffs have now been destroyed) in favor of a even goofier generic First Amendment claim, Paxton’s counsel wrote:
“Plaintiffs’ abandonment of their claim to the unique right to academic freedom reveals the sheer scope of their First Amendment claim. Not only are they seeking to essentially prohibit guns on public campuses, contrary to the legislative decision made by the representations of the people of Texas, their claim could stretch to all public property. If Plaintiffs are no different than anyone else in asserting First Amendment free speech rights, if they succeed in banning guns from public classrooms on the grounds that their right to free speech is unconstitutionally in-fringed by the fact that a concealed handgun may be present in their vicinity, then anyone could assert such a right anywhere. That is absurd. Indeed, the fact that the people of this State continue to enjoy robust free speech rights despite the presence of licensed carry throughout the State only confirms that Plaintiffs’ subjective fears are not objectively reasonable.”
The university’s supplemental memo is also pretty good, but UT is still having to deal with the self-inflicted wound caused by its counsel’s missteps on whether or not UT profs face discipline if they violate the school’s new campus carry policy. The plaintiffs’ supplemental memo is, like many of their presentations, long on emotion, but short on meaningful constitutional analysis. Methinks plaintiffs’ counsel realizes that they’re going down.
My over-under line for a decision from Judge Yeakel on the request for a preliminary injunction stopping implementation of the new law is noon Monday. I’m predicting a narrow opinion that simply holds that plaintiffs did not establish a clear likelihood of success on the merits. Stay tuned.