by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
A year later, it’s still painful. But as I write for CJ,
I’ve wanted to write about it all. I’ve wanted to honor Mike’s memory. I’ve wanted to talk about how Mike helped people fight for their God-given rights against the powers and principalities of this world. It always made him powerful enemies. In his final months, he encouraged Christians and pastors to confront Gov. Roy Cooper’s discrimination against churches and marched with peopleagainst the governor’s destruction of businesses in his illegal abuse of emergency powers. But I found that I couldn’t write about him, not right away; it was too painful. …
[Mike’s] edgy style led ultimately to Adams v. University of North Carolina–Wilmington, “the first federal appellate case to hold that the First Amendment interest in academic freedom overrides” the “general rule (which comes from the Supreme Court case Garcetti v. Ceballos) is that the First Amendment does not protect public employees from discipline based on speech related to their official duties.”
Mike asserted his rights, fought for them, and won, and in the struggle he secured more substantial rights for academics everywhere. That victory has been subsumed in this present darkness blithely called “cancel culture,” as if people can be dealt with as easily as an unwanted newspaper subscription.
Key finding in Adams v. University of North Carolina–Wilmington