June 30, 2007

Brainless Bong Hits Decision

Filed under: Uncategorized — daveb @ 5:57 pm

The right-side of the Supreme Court decided against the First Amendment recently in the Morse v. Frederick [06-278] case. I’m not a lawyer of course, but I do still possess common sense – something the black-robed boys don’t.

There are two parts to this decision I find unacceptable. First, the court found that the Olympic Torch run was a school-sanctioned and school-supervised event. Basically, the school let the students out to watch the runners carry the torch through town. That’s now a school-sanctioned and supervised event. Seems a bit of a stretch to me.

However, had they not found that the school was “supervising” the event (which, of course they really weren’t) then they could never handed down the rest of their idiotic decision. Holding that this was a school event raises a host of issues that no one seems to have addressed yet. I’m curious as to the instructions students were given when they were allowed to leave school. The individual in question was not on school property when the incident happened. Was he really being supervised by his teachers? Or was that just a convenient argument after the fact? Does any student action during school hours now become “supervised” by the school? What if the banner was a bumper-sticker on the student’s car? One can hardly argue that school parking lots are not school supervised.

Let’s turn to the actual decision now. The boys on the right of the court (by right, I do not mean correct) decided to change 40-plus years of policy. In 1965 the court held that a silent, non-disruptive protest against the Viet Nam war could not be squelched. They correctly decided then that the students’ free speech did not conflict with the school’s mission. In that case, the students were protesting on school property. Given the passions for and against the war I think one could have reasonably expected even a slient protest could erupt into an altercation.

Fast-forward forty-two years. Now the court says the act of holding up a banner that says “Bong Hits for Jesus” on a sidewalk across from campus during a sort of parade can be squelched by school officials. And people say we’re becoming MORE LIBERAL????

The court held that the banner promoted illegal drug use and, therefore, the school principal was justified in taking the banner and suspending the student who was responsible.

I think it is obvious this decision is a bow the the right-wing’s losing “War on Drugs.” They cannot face the reality that they cannot legislate every facet of individuals’ lives – from who they sleep with to whether or not they control their own bodies and have children, or ingest drugs. Seriously! Get a clue righties and accept human nature. Prohibition didn’t work. It just helped create some of the biggest mafia machines around.

The court chose to ignore the fact a bong is just a simple water pipe. They can be used for smoking legal substances too. So if the banner said “Hookah Hits for Jesus” would that have been okay? How about “Tequila Shots for Jesus?” Or perhaps “Jesus Sucks” or “Bush Sucks?” And, again, what if it was a bumper-sticker on his car and not a banner?

Now those idiots have opened a huge can of worms. Where do you draw the line? When is a message something a school can prohibit and under what circumstances? I’d say we’re about to find out. This decision will embolden school administrators to test the limits of their powers. Some will undoubtedly try to prohibit speech they personally do not like but that is not offensive, obscene or promotes illegal activities. Others will probably make good decisions.

In either case we might start seeing a lot more cases like this one until the boundaries are more clearly defined.

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