Defending Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression in Wisconsin Supreme Court


Nicole Wagner


The Great Lakes Justice Center today announced the filing of a legal brief with the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The Justice Center filed the brief on behalf of U.S. Law Professors and Academics. The Center’s brief defends the unalienable right of all scholars to participate in the Free Marketplace of ideas.

University Authorities, an Activist Court, and the Loss of Liberty

Freedom of expression does not dissipate when the views of a Christian scholar collide with the preferences of a power-holder. However, the university in this case desires that it should. Audaciously, a university and lower court ruled contrary to both law and precedent. The result?  The university fires a professor for blogging a viewpoint that someone in power did not embrace.

Now On Review in the Wisconsin Supreme Court

As the Wisconsin Supreme Court reviews the lower court’s ruling, the Justice Center brings the Rule of Law to the forefront of discussion. It demonstrates how freedom of expression is a vital to the mission of any academic institution. It lays out clearly the terms of the professor’s legally binding contract with the school, which guarantees his academic freedom and right to free speech.

Contrary to the lower court’s ruling, his firing violated the clear terms of his contract guaranteeing him freedom of expression. The Justice Center, therefore, urges the Wisconsin Supreme Court to overturn the lower court’s ruling.

The Significance of the Case

Erin Elizabeth Mersino, Senior Counsel at the Justice Center stated: “This is an important case. It will set precedent for future cases concerning the freedom of academic expression. Will the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling, therefore, make it easier for bureaucrats to make use of Orwellian tactics? Or, will it protect the fundamental freedom of speech and conscience?”


The Great Lakes Justice Center is a division Salt & Light Global, a non-profit corporation. The Center protects First Amendment and other civil rights.  To support the Great Lakes Justice Center’s important work protecting our nation’s first freedoms, please visit our website at

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Nicole Wagner

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