Lost in the mercurial leadup to and catastrophic flop of Berkeley’s late September “Free Speech Week” was the footnote that two conservative student organizations have had a lawsuit against UC Berkeley arguing that the school hasn’t been provided enough of a safe space for the speakers they book. (Or try to book). Motivated mainly by the implosion of a planned Ann Coulter appearance in April and to a lesser degree the venue switcheroos for September’s Ben Shapiro appearance, student groups the Berkeley College Republicans (BCP) and Young America’s Foundation (YAF) argue that they’re being discriminated against for their politics and not because of safety concerns. But a U.S. District Court judge has tossed that lawsuit out, according to Berkeleyside, saying that recent school policy changes rendered its arguments moot.
“While we realize the litigation is likely to continue, the university is pleased that a federal judge has confirmed the campus is meeting its First Amendment obligations,” UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof said in an email to Berkeleyside. The “likely to continue” part of that statement refers to the near-damned certainty that they YAF and BCR will submit a revised complaint to the court by the Oct. 27 deadline, which the judge's ruling allows them to do.
The young conservatives’ attorney is Harmeet Dhillon, a sort of right-wing legal rock star who is vice chair of the California Republican Party and also representing our old friend James Damore, the ex-Googler fired for his anti-diversity screed. She told Berkeleyside that the new rules which require student groups make venue booking and security arrangements eight weeks before the event were “unconstitutionally vague” and a “multi-week, bureaucratic, turgid mess of a policy.”
The Berkeley-based controversy has gone into national news overdrive, with attorney general Jeff Sessions griping about UC Berkeley just last week, and celebrity-lawyer-turned-pundit Alan Dershowitz had his upcoming Berkeley appearance canceled because the student group booking him didn’t meet the eight-weeks advance rule. (Berkeley’s law school has since gotten Dershowitz scheduled again, using the loophole that they are not a student group.)
Dhillon promises that an amended complaint is definitely on the way, and it will go into “excruciating” detail about UC Berkeley’s dishonesty in the Ann Coulter affair. Oh, I’m sure that complaint will be “excruciating,” alright.