American Samizdat

Thursday, October 26, 2006. *
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to hear an appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (hobgoblin of reactionary minds of all sizes) in an interesting case involving the First Amendment rights of public school pupils:
In January 2002, the Olympic torch relay passed through Juneau, Alaska, on its way to the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Students at Juneau-Douglas High School were permitted to leave class to watch the relay, which passed by the school while it was in session. Eighteen-year-old Joseph Frederick was absent from his classes before the relay. As the torch neared the school, however, Frederick was standing on the sidewalk across from the campus, where he and several friends unfurled a large banner bearing the phrase "BONG HITS 4 JESUS." ("Bong," the petition explains helpfully, is "a slang term for drug paraphernalia commonly used for smoking marijuana.") After he declined a request from Principal Linda Morse to take down the banner -- arguing that he was not on the school's campus and invoking his First Amendment rights -- Frederick was suspended for 10 days.

The Ninth Circuit held that the suspension violated Frederick's First Amendment rights. The school district--represented by former Solicitor General and Presidential Penile Prosecutor Kenneth Starr--has asked the Supreme Court to reverse that decision.
posted by The Continental Op at 9:04 PM
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