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Appeals court reviews decision from judge who may be ‘sympathetic’ to ideology

The staunchly and radically leftist American Civil Liberties Union has abruptly joined a long list of conservatives in support of two teachers who challenged “antiracism” indoctrination in their public school district.

A stunning decision from a trial judge dismissed the teachers’ claims and ordered them to pay the district $300,000 for “legal fees.”

Now a report from Just the News explains the common goal among those supporting the teachers is that they are concerned the judge’s activism in the case is sending a chilling message to others: Not to challenge such ideologies – ever.

The teachers are Brooke Henderson and Jennifer Lumley. They challenged the indoctrination plan by the Springfield Public Schools and their case now is pending before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A brief signed by the ACLU, which joined with conservative organizations like the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, the ADF and others, warns the appeals panel that, “Uncritically awarding government officials hundreds of thousands of dollars defeats the purpose of our fundamental civil rights statutes.”

It scares victims of modest means away from complaining, they said.

Actually, the precedent for the states covered by the 8th Circuit does not even allow “sanctions,” in such cases, the friend-of-the-court brief suggests.

Just the News reported, “Briefs by other groups challenged the merit of the ruling itself and the impartiality of U.S. District Judge Douglas Harpool, a longtime Democratic elected official in Missouri appointed to the bench by President Obama, who claimed the suit ‘trivializ[ed]’ and used his court for ‘judicial activism.'”

Comments from the Institute for Free Speech and the Manhattan Institute suggest it is Harpool who sounds “more like a legislator than a judge.”

That filing suggests, “Perhaps Judge Harpool misperceives the nature of antiracism or is himself sympathetic to its creed or ideology.”

The ACLU’s agenda, in the past, has included defending neo-Nazis who marched through a Chicago suburb full of Holocaust survivors, and it even abandoned being neutral when it represented the organizer of the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, the report said.

The judge claimed the teachers’ concerns lacked factual or legal basis.

The brief from the Institute for Free Speech, however, corrected Harpool.

“‘The school district, after all, asked its employees to dispute a foundational concept of American society and government’ — colorblindness — ‘and to do so in the course of violating some of our most basic laws,’ they wrote.”

The district, in fact, ordered the teachers to “write down what they will do to adopt antiracism … akin to an ideological loyalty oath,” the brief said.

The school had conceded it forced the teachers to attend the training, and then refused to give them credit unless they chose answers that violated their own beliefs.

And it ordered them to “commit” to the district’s opinions.

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