Starr Goes After Freedom Of Speech, Bong Hits

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The Supreme Court entered into a free-speech dispute Friday involving a high school student suspended over a "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner, displayed off school property, but in view during a school event.

Former Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr represents the Alaska school board in this legal dispute over a student's banner.

Principal Deborah Morse ordered the 18-year-old senior to take down the sign, which he refused. This led to a 10-day suspension for violating a school policy by promoting illegal drug use.

The justices accepted an appeal from a school board in Juneau, Alaska, after a federal appeals court allowed a lawsuit by the Joseph Frederick's family to proceed.

Frederick was suspended in 2002 after he unfurled the 14-foot-long banner, a reference to marijuana use, and perhaps more of a joke than anything else, just outside school grounds as the Olympic torch relay moved through the Alaskan capital headed for the Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Even though Frederick was standing on a public sidewalk, school officials claim that he and other students were participating in a school-sponsored event.

Frederick filed suit, saying his First Amendment rights were infringed upon. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, California, agreed, concluding the school could not show Frederick had disrupted the school's educational mission by showing a banner off the school campus.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court relied on the Supreme Court's famous 1969 "Tinker" case, in which two Iowa high students were allowed to continue wearing anti-Vietnam War armbands.

But the justices in other appeals involving free speech have ruled against students' ability to give sexually suggestive messages, and in favor of a school's right to restrict what is published in student newspapers.


Posted by bit on 2006-12-04 08:09:09
Poor poor Ken Starr- he went from playing for Congress' team to playing for the Alaskan school board? It's like David Spade going from playing in feature-length movies to a two-day gig at the Laugh Hutt in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Posted by Pile on 2006-12-04 11:41:49
I think the Laugh Hutt in Poughkeepsie might be offended by that remark.


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