Joined: Oct 24, 2006
Fri Jun 29, 2007 1:57 pm
Washington, DC: The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 this week that students’ speech that may be "reasonably viewed" as "promoting illegal drug use" is not protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and may be prohibited by school administrators. The ruling marks the first time the Court has determined that schools can prohibit student expression that is neither obscene nor published under the school’s auspices.
The decision reverses a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determination that found that school officials infringed upon a student’s free speech rights when they suspended him for unfurling a banner stating "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" at an off-campus student function in 2002.
"Drug abuse by the nation’s youth is a serious problem [and] …. the governmental interest in stopping student drug abuse allow[s] schools to restrict student expression that they reasonably regard as promoting such abuse," Chief Justice John Roberts opined for the Court.
Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas sided with the majority. Justice Stephen Breyer filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part.
Writing for the dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens opined that the majority’s ruling could potentially "silence opponents of the war on drugs."
He wrote: "Even in high school, a rule that permits only one point of view to be expressed is less likely to produce correct answers than the open discussion of countervailing views. ... In the national debate about a serious issue, it is the expression of the minority’s viewpoint that most demands the protection of the First Amendment. Whatever the better policy may be, a full and frank discussion of the costs and benefits of the attempt to prohibit the use of marijuana is far wiser than suppression of speech because it is unpopular."
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and David Souter joined in Justice Stephen’s dissent.
The case is Morse v. Frederick, No. 06-278.
_________________ Wait - what was I just talking about?
View next topic View previous topic
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum