Supreme Court- Advocates for Free Speech If you're a Lobbyist-NOT if you're a kid in school Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Supreme Court- Advocates for Free Speech If you're a Lobbyist-NOT if you're a kid in school

25 June 2007 at 2:32:08 PM

You know, I'd feel a whole lot more like getting with the SCOTU program for free speech if they weren't inconsistent. First up, get ready for a whole lot more SPAM on our Vast Teevee Wasteland as the election date gets closer. I actually don't disagree with this ruling, which says that not letting groups flood the airwaves with stuff is censorship; it's just that I hate that crap on television and I refuse to be assaulted by it this time, as in the last presidential election- the DVR that pre-records and lets me skip commercials awaits. Here's what Chief Justice John Roberts said.

The decision overturned a legal ban promoted in 2002 by Senator John McCain that prevented an anti-abortion group from broadcasting advertisements in Wisconsin in the two months before the 2004 general election.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said the ban infringed the constitution's First Amendment right to free speech.

"When it comes to defining what speech qualifies as the functional equivalent of express advocacy subject to such a ban... we give the benefit of the doubt to speech, not censorship," he wrote.

Unless you're a kid wearing a "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" t-shirt.

The Supreme Court tightened limits on student speech Monday, ruling against a high school student and his 14-foot-long "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner.

Schools may prohibit student expression that can be interpreted as advocating drug use, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court in a 5-4 ruling.

Joseph Frederick unfurled his homemade sign on a winter morning in 2002, as the Olympic torch made its way through Juneau, Alaska, en route to the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Frederick said the banner was a nonsensical message that he first saw on a snowboard. He intended the banner to proclaim his right to say anything at all.

Now, I'm not advocating drug use, but I'm mostly with the conservative groups who you KNOW weren't advocating bong hits, in that who decides what speech is appropriate if speech is really free? And we can't forget that students aren't supposed to be ditching their constitutional rights once they walk into a building?

Conservative groups that often are allied with the administration are backing Frederick out of concern that a ruling for Morse would let schools clamp down on religious expression, including speech that might oppose homosexuality or abortion.

A comment from Balkinization about this case.

In Morse v. Frederick, Thomas wanted to ditch another Warren Court precedent, Tinker, based on his reading of how states interpreted the First Amendment before it even applied to them. Roberts' opinion creates a new rule allowing schools to ban student advocacy of illegal drug use-- but this rule would apparently not extend to student advocacy of changing the drug laws. (Which raises the obvious question: How can we tell whether "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" is advocacy of illegality, political advocacy of drug liberalization, or just a joke?) Alito and Kennedy, who think of themselves as first amendment libertarians, tried to limit Roberts' opinion by arguing that students still had the right to make political and social statements, just not make statements that might threaten the physical safety of other students, and advocacy of illegal drug use threatened students' physical safety. (Of course the question of what sort of speech might threaten physical safety could easily swallow up the rule. For example, to use the facts of a recent 9th circuit case, what about a student who wears a t-shirt on "tolerance day" that says that homosexuality is against God's law? Would school officials be able to make the student remove the t-shirt on the ground that it might lead to fisticuffs? If so, then Alito and Kennedy's theory is not very speech protective at all.)

I predict more lawsuits along the way. But in any event, the sheer hypocrisy of the SCOTU shows itself... again.

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