Mary Ellen Klas (Miami Herald) writes that a controversial Florida law aimed at barring travel by research professors to Cuba and other countries will stay in place, after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the case.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left intact a controversial Florida law that restricts state colleges and universities from traveling to Cuba and other “terrorist states,” despite indications last year that the court would consider a review.
Amid the flurry of rulings from the high court on Monday was a denial of review of Florida’s “Travel to Terrorist States Act.” The action effectively lets stand a lower court ruling upholding the 2006 law, which bars public schools and universities from using state money for travel to countries such as Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria and other nations considered “sponsors of terrorism.”
The court decision not to hear the case deals a “devastating blow” to Florida universities, said Howard Simon, head of the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU challenged the law, along with faculty at Florida International University, the University of South Florida and the University of Florida. Simon predicted the law will lead to an exodus of faculty and research dollars from Florida schools. “The research is not going to end. It will just be done by universities elsewhere outside of Florida,’’ Simon said. “It will keep us in an enforced state of ignorance.”
U.S. Rep. David Rivera, a Miami Republican who sponsored the law when he was in the state Legislature, commended the court’s action, saying it was “a victory for Florida taxpayers” who “do not want their money or publicly funded resources to be utilized for travel to terrorist nations, or to enrich terrorist regimes.” Simon, however, said the premise of the law is flawed, saying the research doesn’t aid the terrorist countries and helps the U.S. “It’s not a giveaway to Cuba if we study the country’s economy, weather patterns and political conditions,’’ he said. “We benefit by knowing more. We don’t benefit by forced ignorance.”
For full article, see http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/25/2867866/high-court-lets-cuba-travel-ban.html
Photo of Jose Marti National Library by journalist Yuris Nórido, from http://yurisnorido.blogspot.com/2009_11_01_archive.html