Justice Department backs lawsuit against University of Michigan’s Bias Response Team

The Trump administration weighed in Monday on a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of policies prohibiting the expression of “bias” at the University of Michigan, arguing that the public school has been unlawfully punishing students for speech protected by the First Amendment.

In a statement of interest, the Justice Department said the Ann Arbor university has imposed a “system of arbitrary censorship of, and punishment for, constitutionality protected speech.”

“The University’s policies prohibit speech that any listener finds ‘bothersome’ or ‘hurtful’ — an overbroad, vague, and subjective standard that is a paradigmatic example of the chilling of free expression prohibited by the First Amendment,” the statement of interest read.

In a statement, acting Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio said freedom of speech and expression “are under attack” on college campuses.

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