Monday, June 25, 2007

Bong Hits 4 Jesus

This really bugs me. How did this case make it all the way to the Supreme Court? If you're in a public high school, and you make a banner speaking out against Christianity, why would you muddy the message by including a drug reference? Maybe he'd have actually won his case if it said 'Military Occupations 4 Jesus.' Or he could've just hung a banner of this:

There! No sending a mixed message, because the last time I checked, Snickers were legal for high school students to consume. However, please let me know if times have changed since the early 90's.

Also, how did Kenneth Starr become involved in this case? Was the kid wearing a blue dress? Did he mention a blow job? Held up The Shocker?


CampBlood said...

OK Bling, I almost fell out of my fucking chair laughing at this!!!! Genius!

miles said...

He would have been gold if he had said instead:

"Jesus Fucked the Draft".

Lord Bling said...

Strategery FTW.

CowboyLaw said...

Okay, in all semi-seriousness, here's the answers, in reverse order.

1. Before he became a witch hunter, Ken Starr had a very good career, which led to him serving as the Soliciter General (the guy who argues before the Supreme Court on behalf of the Executive Branch) for Bush the First and as a judge for the District of Columbia Federal Court of Appeals. So he actually has a lot of Supreme Court experience. It's just that he's an absolute, flaming asshole.

2. At issue in the case was the extent of First Amendment protection afforded to public students at school-sponsored events. The Supreme Court has already ruled that public school students enjoy less than the full protection of the First Amendment, because a public school has not traditionally been a venue for the exercise of free speech (contract that to public sidewalks and parks, which the Court has said have traditionally been used for the exercise of free speech). In previous cases, the Court ruled that schools could prohibit speech that was contrary to the educational mission of the school. I.e., you can't stand up in English class one day and filibuster because you're getting in the way of the rest of us learning. So, this case fell into a grey area: was the Bong banner contrary to the school's educational mission? The Court concluded that the banner advocated drug use, and that messages advocating drug use were indeed contrary to the school's educational mission, therefore the school acted appropriately in disciplining the student.

All in all, not a very big deal. Not a big departure from past precedent, just an extension of prior rulings. The case made Religious Right Christians very nervous, because the ruling could arguably be used to curtail religious speech at schools as well. I expect that you won't see this case blossom into much more. Perhaps some schools will use it to try to ban t-shirts with marijuana leaves on it, which will be interesting, but I don't think we'll all look back one day on this ruling and think, "Gee, that's when life changed."