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Shirty Reasoning

Over the last week or so, high school twits have been the subject of Supreme Court rulings -- and I think that the Court got them both wrong.

Now, I'm no lawyer or legal scholar or anything, and I'm sure that the Court had very sound rationales for their decisions -- but they don't pass my common sense test.

And that depends solely on the classic cliche': location, location, location.

In the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case, the student was punished for holding up a banner across the street from his school. In the anti-Bush shirt, the student was disciplined for wearing the shirt to school.

To me, the school's authority pretty much ends at the edge of the school grounds. There are exceptions, when the students are participating in a school-sanctioned event.

The student in question (who really doesn't need any more attention) by mentioning his name) had not gone to school that morning. He was not technically "attending" school at the time, so I think that the school didn't have the authority to discipline him.

In the other case, the twit wore an anti-Bush t-shirt that featured drugs and alcohol to the school. In that case, the school had every right to enforce its dress code and ban a potentially-disruptive item of apparel.

The court ruled differently. They upheld the Bong Hits 4 Jesus sanction, but protected the anti-Bush one.

I guess common sense is not always compatible with high legal theory.


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Comments (14)

The "Bong Hits for Jesus" k... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

The "Bong Hits for Jesus" kid was attending a school parade. So, he was indeed participating in the school event. I don't understand the other one though. ww

The first amendment protect... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

The first amendment protects free speech. Whatever unpopular thing is written on a shirt or poster is irrelevant unless it's the equivalent of yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre, and creates a "clear and present danger".

Neither of these incidents met that standard. Neither should have been punished based on the content of the speech.

Certainly, a school may punish someone for disruption or something like that. Perhaps one or both of these individuals should have been punished for something like that.

But these rulings were centered on the content of speech. Frankly, neither case should have made it to the Supreme Court. These cases dealt with an issue that the Court has largely settled.

Now, with the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" ruling, we're back to finding ways to ban unpopular speech. What else, other than vague references to drug use, is so horrible that a student can't even talk about it? We'll find out in the coming years.

Yep, they were correct on t... (Below threshold)
Jay:

Yep, they were correct on the T-shirt case and wrong on the banner case.

The drug war really needs to go.

Going to be lazy here, and ... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Going to be lazy here, and ask a question instead of doing any research, was "Bong its-boy" attending a school with one of those ever so popular Drug Free Zone postings? If so, that would likely extend the controlled behavior area of the school. As mentioned by W.W., "school function" is another circumstance under which the controlled behavior area of the school is extended beyond actual school grounds.

Cure for all. Dress codes a... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Cure for all. Dress codes and uniforms in public school. Since most school systems are failed systems ran by the anti-American left make the uniforms brown, require hobnail boots, and make them march the goose step every where they go.
In both cases the parents or some grownup (in body at least) used the students to push their own Anti-American agenda. BDS is spreading rapidly and having an effect not expected by the left. Mental health care facilities are overloaded and soon will not be able to care for the additional democrat overload.

anti-American left... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
anti-American left

LOL! good one!

Could you please produce a ... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

Could you please produce a link to the opinion for the second case?

--|PW|--

Re-read Tinker v. Des Mo... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

Re-read Tinker v. Des Moines, then take a look at Alito's dissent in Morse v. Fredericks, and the difference will be apparent.

--|PW|--

Please explain, pennywit.<b... (Below threshold)
kim:

Please explain, pennywit.
================

Alito didn't dissent in Mor... (Below threshold)
Bob:

Alito didn't dissent in Morse v. Frederick; he concurred:
Justice Alito, with whom Justice Kennedy joins, concurring.
I join the opinion of the Court on the understanding that (a) it goes no further than to hold that a public school may restrict speech that a reasonable observer would interpret as advocating illegal drug use and (b) it provides no support for any restriction of speech that can plausibly be interpreted as commenting on any political or social issue, including speech on issues such as "the wisdom of the war on drugs or of legalizing marijuana for medicinal use."

I would also like a cite to the anto-Bush decision.

I stand corrected; Alito co... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

I stand corrected; Alito concurred. My mistake.

--|PW|--

"anti-American left... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

"anti-American left

LOL! good one!
Posted by: Publicus"

Hey Pub, it is what it is. What the liberals are doing to the kids at a progressively earlier age is nothing more than child molesting. Mentally abusing kids for their sick and desparate agenda ought to treated the same as sexual abuse or even worse. Teaching kids to be hate mongers is the same as teaching kids to be suicide bombers. Liberalism is a disease and a failure.

Rob LA Ca. --LOL! ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Rob LA Ca. --

LOL! Even funnier!

;-)

I agree Jay. Sometimes the... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

I agree Jay. Sometimes the courts stretch the facts to reach a result; even a well-meaning conservative court.




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