Free Speech Does Not Protect Bong Hits

Recently a case before the Supreme Court regarding a student who unfurled a flag saying “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” along a parade route was mentioned here. The Supreme Court’s decision is in, ruling against the student. The report does suggest that the case may have been decided on narrow grounds and might not set any precedents contrary to free speech:

The winning side in the case was quick to assert that the decision was not anti-free speech

In their concurrence, Justices Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy specified that the court’s opinion provides no support for any restriction on speech that goes to political or social issues.

It’s a narrow ruling that “should not be read more broadly,” said Kenneth Starr, whose law firm represented the school principal.

Students in public schools don’t have the same rights as adults, but neither do they leave their constitutional protections at the schoolhouse gate, as the court said in a landmark speech-rights ruling from Vietnam era.

Reason fears that this is opening a “drug exception to the first amendment” and asks a good question: “If expressing opposition to the Vietnam War is protected even in school, how can expressing opposition to the War on Drugs not be?”

Update: The Panda’s Thumb explains how another Supreme Court ruling might make it more difficult for taxpayers to sue schools which decide to spend the money wastefully, such as to buy creationist texts such as Of Pandas and Men. People.

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