Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


The Craig Bill, S.1484

Sponsored by Senator Larry E. Craig (R.-Idaho), S. 1484 is a bill to amend the Education Amendments of 1972, called Title IX (which guarantee equal access to the benefits of federally funded education without discrimination) in order to outlaw so-called speech codes at institutions of higher education that receive federal funds. The Craig bill prohibits "discrimination" or "official sanction"-such as expulsion, suspension, probation, censure, or reprimand- based on "protected speech" -i.e., "speech which is protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, or would be so protected if the institution of higher education were subject to those amendnments." Called the "Freedom of Speech on Campus Act of 1991," the bill's findings include the assertion that:

Unfortunately some universities and other institutions of higher education are using federal funds to institute prior restraints on speech by taking action such as instituting behavior codes and harassment policies that require "politically correct" speech with the effect of suppressing unpopular viewpoints.

Religious and military institutions are exempt. Although the First Amendment otherwise would not apply to them, private institutions are covered by the language of the bill if they receive federal funds.

On September 10, 1992, Professor Catharine A. MacKinnon testified against S. 1484 before the Labor and Human Resources Committee. After the hearings the bill was not reported out of committee, and so died-for now.