From Walter Olson:
If the issue of FOIA-ing U.Va. professors rings a bell, it’s because it’s happened at least twice before. Around 2009 Greenpeace, the environmental activist group, FOIAed the university demanding correspondence and documents relating to former professor Patrick Michaels (now at Cato), who had espoused skeptical views on global warming. Then allies of former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli filed a FOIA request seeking similar documents for Michael Mann, a prominent advocate of global warming theories. [C-ville.com, WaPo]
No one could doubt that Laycock’s views on religious accommodation are part of a set of intellectually derived convictions that run through decades of his work. (In addition to opposing such forms of church-state entanglement as officially sponsored prayer, he supports the right of gays to marry.) It’s simply a matter of trying to arm-twist a tenured, well-recognized scholar who takes a position that the Forces of Unanimity consider wrong.
And from Rick Hasen:
I know something about these requests, and at this point I think it worth remembering what Indiana Professor Eric Rasmussen said: we should be equally outraged at these threats to academic freedom when they come from the left or the right.
I concur. Threats to academic freedom must be resisted by people of goodwill regardless of which side of the political aisle from which they come.