Oh that slippery slope of civil liberties lost just got a little steeper.
The phrase doesn't make any sense, and it wasn't supposed to. 18 year old high school senior Joseph Frederick unfurled the 14 foot banner on a public sidewalk across the street from the high school during a non-school event. High school administrator Deborah Morse confiscated the banner and suspended Frederick for "advocating drug use" evidently in view of other high school students.
As was the other decisions that came down yesterday, the Court was divided 5-4 with the conservative gang of Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy in the majority. What's more interesting is the opinions of the minority and they attest to a court that doesn't even agree with what they are entrusted:
"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.[..]
In dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens said the ruling "does serious violence to the First Amendment."[..]
Former independent counsel Ken Starr, whose law firm represented the school principal, called it a narrow ruling that "should not be read more broadly."[..]
Justice Stephen Breyer said the court should not have decided the First Amendment issue, but should have simply held that Frederick's claim for monetary damages because school officials have qualified immunity in carrying out their duties.
You know that there's a problem when a Justice openly asks, "Why are we even hearing this case?"
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