The Bush Court starts chipping away at the First Amendment
A high school student who was suspended for unfurling a banner saying "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" did not have his rights violated, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday in its first major decision on student free-speech rights in nearly 20 years.
Gee, I wonder if they came down for free speech, or against it?
The high court's conservative majority ruled that a high school principal in Juneau, Alaska, did not violate the student's constitutional free-speech rights by confiscating the banner and then suspending him.
Student Joseph Frederick says the banner's language was meant to be nonsensical and funny, a prank to get on television as the Winter Olympic torch relay passed by the school in January 2002.
Well, the [snigger] Justices are Republicans, so they don't do nonsensical and funny. Nonsensical alone, of course, they can do quite well.
Because here's their argument:
At issue was the discretion schools should be allowed to limit messages that appear to advocate illegal drug use. "Bong," as noted in the appeal filed with the justices, "is a slang term for drug paraphernalia."
So, if the student entity had declared himself a Fourth Branch of Government, he'd have been above the law entirely, right?
And what if the student entity had revised the banner to read: "Don't do bong hits for Jesus! That would be illegal!" Would that be OK?
Don't push me, Judge, or I'll be forced to deploy irony and sarcasm....
NOTE Of course, that fact that the banner read "... for Jesus" would have had nothing, nothing at all to do with the decision. After all, we don't have a state religion on this country. Right?