Monday, June 25, 2007

Bong Hits 4 Jesus

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | US student loses free speech case

A former high school student has lost his case in what is the US Supreme Court's first major ruling on students' free speech rights in almost 20 years.

At issue was whether a school principal violated a student's right to free speech by suspending him for displaying a banner reading "Bong Hits 4 Jesus".

Joseph Frederick unfurled the banner near to his school as the Olympic flame passed through Juneau, Alaska, in 2002.

The Supreme Court justices ruled by 5-4 that his rights were not violated.

Justice John Paul Stevens was among the four justices who dissented on the ruling.

He wrote: "Although this case began with a silly nonsensical banner, it ends with the court inventing out of whole cloth a special First Amendment rule permitting the censorship of any student speech that mentions drugs."
What if the banner had read "Beer 4 Jesus" or "Give Jesus A Beer"? Would that still be wrong? Or what about "Bong Hits 4 Bush"? These things are worth thinking about.

It's also worth noting that this court case is happening FIVE YEARS after the event. They couldn't find anything more important to spend five years on, than investigating a kid for saying "Bong Hits 4 Jesus"?

Shame on you US Supreme Court, shame.

Update: Best coverage of this is, as always, on Boing Boing.

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