AG Schimel Backs Academic Freedom in Friend of the Court Brief

Feb 27 2018

MADISON, Wis. – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel filed an amicus brief with the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the case of McAdams v. Marquette University. Wisconsin’s brief supports Professor John McAdams’ First Amendment claims in the case, which offers the court an opportunity to guarantee academic freedom in Wisconsin and to adopt a comprehensive doctrinal framework for First Amendment academic-speech claims.


“The state’s university system, with over 175,000 students and 39,000 faculty, has a longstanding tradition of support for academic freedom,” said Attorney General Schimel. “The State of Wisconsin has a direct interest in the outcome of this case and any academic-speech framework the State Supreme Court may adopt as the result.”


The state’s brief explains that the First Amendment protects academic expression that touches on matters of public concern, including speech about the basic purposes of postsecondary teaching. Marquette University is a private institution that has chosen to afford First Amendment protections to its faculty. The university’s interests as an employer do not outweigh Professor McAdams’ First Amendment right.


This case is being handled by Chief Deputy Solicitor General Ryan Walsh and Assistant Solicitor General Amy Miller. Oral arguments are scheduled to be held April 19, 2018.