Trump administration supports suit over Berkeley speakers

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Trump administration supports suit over Berkeley speakers
FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2017, file photo, a bonfire set by demonstrators protesting a scheduled speaking appearance by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos, burns on Sproul Plaza on the University of California at Berkeley campus in Berkeley, Calif. The Trump administration is throwing its support behind a lawsuit against the University of California, Berkeley that accuses the school of a double standard for campus speakers that restricts conservative viewpoints. The U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, that the allegations by the Berkeley College Republicans and Young America's Foundation would violate the First Amendment if proven true. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Trump administration on Thursday threw its support behind a lawsuit against the University of California, Berkeley that accuses the school of a double standard for campus speakers that restricts conservative viewpoints.

The allegations raised by the Berkeley College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation would violate the First Amendment if proven true, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing.

The DOJ said a federal judge should reject a request by UC Berkeley to dismiss the lawsuit.

The university said in a statement it does not discriminate against speakers, and the allegations in the suit are unfounded.

“The campus is committed to ensuring that student groups may hold events with speakers of their choosing, and it has expended significant resources to allow events to go forward without compromising the safety or security of the campus,” the statement said.

The lawsuit was filed in April after a campus talk by conservative commentator Ann Coulter didn’t take place.

University officials subjected Coulter to new restrictions for “high-profile” speakers that were implemented in the wake of violence before a scheduled talk in February by Milo Yiannopolis, a polarizing political commentator and former editor for Breitbart news, according to the lawsuit.

The Justice Department said concerns about campus safety do not outweigh the First Amendment.