Morse v. Frederick and What Things Might Mean

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Part b of the holding from the Morse case follows, tracked down from ScotusBlog:

(b) The Court agrees with Morse that those who viewed the banner would interpret it as advocating or promoting illegal drug use, in violation of school policy. At least two interpretations of the banner’s
words–that they constitute an imperative encouraging viewers to smoke marijuana or, alternatively, that they celebrate drug use–demonstrate that the sign promoted such use. This pro-drug interpretation gains further plausibility from the paucity of alternative meanings the banner might bear. Pp. 6–8.

I don’t really understand the court’s reasoning here or in its other parts. The Court agrees with Morse’s interpretation of how others might view or determine the words “Bong Hits 4 Jesus,” all of which must be guessed at. The dissent reads as if this has all been a simple waste of time, and I agree.

All this could’ve been laughed off by the school and the students. Rather, we have what I would suggest is a sweeping gesture by the court about a “very serious” matter. BH4J is now advocacy for drug use. Now any kid can wear the statement on a shirt and call it political speech. Right?


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