Morse v. Frederick

June 27, 2007 | General | By: Mark VandeWettering

First of all, I’d like to just say one thing:


How many of you felt that this phrase was trying to convince you to use illegal drugs? What if it were on a banner held by teenagers?

The majority of Supreme Court justices thought this rather comical phrase was a sufficient enticement to encouraging illegal drug use that schools were entitled to confiscate such a banner and suspend a student for holding such a banner at “a school sponsered and sanctioned event” which was apparently to stand on the side of a street as the Olympic torch passed by.

When did we become such a nation of pansies? That the merest mention of something which which we might disagree requires that we squash it by rejecting all legal precedent and tossing our First Amendment rights onto the fire?

Justice Stevens writes in the dissent:

In my judgment, the First Amendment protects student speech if the message itself neither violates a permissible rule nor expressly advocates conduct that is illegal and harmful to students. This nonsense banner does neither, and the Court does serious violence to the First Amendment in upholding—indeed, lauding—a school’s decision to punish Frederick for expressing a view with which it disagreed.

Justice Stevens’ dissent is in fact very good, and (while I’m no law student) I think draws on precedent to a much larger and more thorough degree that the majority opinion. I urge you all to read this decision.

Morse v. Frederick – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Addendum: BoingBoing has a replacement banner for you students that would seemingly avoid the issues that Justice Roberts raised in the majority opinion.


Comment from Kevin VandeWettering
Time 8/6/2007 at 5:30 pm

Chief Justice John Roberts responded: “It’s a case about money. Your client wants money from the principal personally for her actions in this case.”

You think this kid should be able to break the well published anti-drug policy at his school, lip off to his principal, get suspended and then get paid in a suit?

You could grasp at better straws to try to find fault with a conservative court.