Friday, June 29, 2007

SCOTUS protects political speech

Today the Court refused to hear an appeal of a case that would be the first to test the latest free speech ruling. The background:
A seventh-grader from Vermont was suspended for wearing a shirt that bore images of cocaine and a martini glass — but also had messages calling President Bush a lying drunk driver who abused cocaine and marijuana, and the "chicken-hawk-in-chief" who was engaged in a "world domination tour."

After his suspension, Zachary Guiles returned to school with duct tape covering the offending images.

Williamstown Middle School Principal Kathleen Morris-Kortz said the images violated the school dress code, which prohibits clothing that promotes the use of drugs or alcohol.

An appeals court said the school had no right to censor any part of the shirt.
Alito's political speech exception was the controlling ruling. "Bong hits 4 Jesus" is unacceptable, but "Bad Bush Hits Bong" is apparently okay.

Perhaps we pessimists have reason to be a little less pessimistic. (Outright optimism is a stretch.)


Nuss said...

This makes me very happy -- I consider it a victory.

Since the court refused to hear it, that means they viewed the shirt as political speech, thereby upholding the previous thought that the Frederick decision would be narrowly applied.

It's so rare to get a test case so quickly. I'm no lawyer, but this seems like great news from a free speech perspective.

Read more about it from a free speech perspective here.

Ryan said...

Bong Hits 4 Jesus = Bad
Bong Hits 4 Bush = OK

I call religious prejudice!