In 2002, high school student Joseph Frederick unfurled a 14-foot banner during the Winter Olympics Relay in Juneau, Alaska which read "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." The principal of his school (Deborah Morse) took exception to the reference to drugs on banner, ripped it down, and suspended Frederick from school for 10 days. Of course, the student sued the principal... and somehow this crazy case made it all the way to the Supreme Court!
Earlier today in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled (Morse vs. Frederick) that schools could that restrict student speech when the message seems to advocate illegal drug use. The majority decision (written by Chief Justice Roberts) goes to great length to specify that the court's opinion "goes no further" than speech interpreted as dealing with illegal drug use.
The article on Yahoo! news continues:
"The message on Frederick's banner is cryptic," Chief Justice John Roberts said. But the school principal who suspended him "thought the banner would be interpreted by those viewing it as promoting illegal drug use, and that interpretation is plainly a reasonable one," Roberts said in the majority opinion.Read the entire Yahoo! article here.
plez sez: hmmmmm... so our Supreme Court had NOTHING better to do than to take up their valuable time (they are about to recess until October within the next week) ruling on a crazy case like this!
i agree with the ruling, but isn't this common sense: a school cannot allow its students to display banners advocating drug use. maybe i'm missing something here, but there are limits to free speech: hate speech, yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theater, promoting drugs and alcohol to minors, sexually explicit speech and images around minors, kiddie porn, etc.
since i'm not a lawyer, i have a few questions for my more learned readers:
- how in the HELL did a frivolous lawsuit like this make it to the Supreme Court?
- what in the HELL were the Justices who voted in favor of the high school student thinking?