The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left intact a controversial Florida law that restricts researchers at 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 certiorari on Florida’s “Travel to Terrorist States Act.” The action effectively lets stand a lower court ruling upholding the 2006 law that 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 deals a “devastating blow” to Florida universities, said Howard Simon of the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union which challenged the law, along with faculty at Florida International University, the University of South Florida and the University of Florida. He predicted it 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.”