25 June 2007

"bong hits 4 jesus" decision

justice's roberts, thomas, alito & kennedy concurred.
justice breyer concurred in part and dissented in part.
justice's stevens, souter & ginsburgh dissented.

Top US court rules against 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus'
Joseph Frederick was 18 when he displayed his huge banner just outside the school grounds at Juneau, Alaska in front of television cameras as the Olympic flame passed in front of a crowd.

Principal Deborah Morse was not amused by Frederick's linkage between Jesus and a bong, a pipe used to smoke marijuana. She took away the banner and suspended Frederick from school for 10 days.

Frederick took his case to court, arguing that his free-speech rights, protected under the First Amendment, had been violated, and demanding damages from Morse.

The case drew heavy hitters on Frederick's side including the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Center for Law and Justice. Some religious groups also backed Frederick, putting President George W. Bush's conservative base at odds with the administration, which sided with the school.

For his part, Frederick, now 23, said he had unfurled the banner as a "free-speech experiment."
click here to read more
STEVENS, J., dissenting, wrote in part:
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.

I respectfully dissent.
click link to download full 60 page .pdf opinion
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