Attorney General Todd Rokita called today for a renewed national commitment to free speech and civil discourse following a March 10 incident in which a mob of Yale Law School students raucously disrupted a bipartisan panel. Coincidentally enough, the panel was itself discussing a U.S. Supreme Court case focused on free speech. 

“All Hoosiers have a vested interest in the protection of free speech and civil discourse,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Throughout much of our nation’s history, the importance of free speech was one priority on which both sides of the aisle agreed. Unfortunately, large segments of the Left now seem to have abandoned their commitment to this precious American liberty.” 

For their protection, the panelists at Yale had to be rushed to a waiting police car by law enforcement. The mob’s actions apparently were instigated by a leftist group’s baseless claim that the Alliance Defending Freedom — which one of the panelists represented — was a “hate group.”   

Attorney General Rokita signed a letter to Yale Law School officials coordinated by the Philadelphia Statement, an initiative to protect freedom of speech against cancel culture and ideological blacklisting. 

The letter states, in part: “Our nation desperately needs the next generation of attorneys, legislators, judges, and Supreme Court justices to be marked by the character and values that undergird the American legal profession and a free society. These include, at the very least, respect for the right to freedom of speech, a commitment to living peacefully with one another despite differences, and esteem for truly open dialogue and debate.” 

The panelists at Yale were discussing the Supreme Court case Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski. In that case, the court ruled in favor of Chike Uzuegbunam, who as a college student in 2016 was prohibited by officials at Georgia’s Gwinnett College from peacefully sharing his Christian faith with fellow students.