The Trump administration is wading into the ongoing legal battle between UC Berkeley and conservative students who say the school is stepping on their right to free speech.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in the case in support of the students, agreeing that their complaint “adequately pleads that the university’s speech restrictions violate the First Amendment.”
“This Department of Justice will not stand by idly while public universities violate students’ constitutional rights,” Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand said in a statement.
It’s not the first time the administration has made a show of trying to stick it to what is often identified as one of the nation’s most liberal universities. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sympathized during a September talk at Georgetown University with the conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, who spoke at Cal last year, saying “no one fainted.” In a February 2017 tweet, President Donald Trump appeared to threaten to pull funding from the university, writing, “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”