Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Free Speech for Corporations not Individuals!

Freedom of Speech I guess from reading the last few Supreme Court opinions is for the moneyed corporations not for individuals, especially if they are students.
In fact the opinions are hypocritical--

Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion. Justice Thomas' concurring opinion states that "the Constitution does not afford students a right to free speech in public schools." Not only is this a retreat from Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1969) which held that students can wear black armbands in protest of the Vietnam war, and this political speech was the very heart of the 1st amendment.
Monday's decision (Morse et al v Frederick ) was about a nonsensical banner held off campus which read "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." The event was the Olmpic Torch passing through town, while it may be argued that it was a school event--students were encouraged to attend-- it was a public event, and Morse was standing across the street from campus.

Justice John Paul Stevens' dissent did concede the majority’s major premises: that students do not enjoy full, (read: adult) free-speech rights and that illegal drug use is dangerous. But Stevens focuses on the statement itself and the intent of this message (to just draw attention) ". . . it is a gross non sequitur to draw from these two unremarkable propositions the remarkable conclusion that the school may suppress student speech that was never meant to persuade anyone to do anything."

The second case whose opinion was released also on Monday was the Federal Elections Commission v Wisconsin Right to Life ( and concerns campaign finance reform and who may pay for electioneering communication. The Chief Justice's opinion ends with the line:
"The Court should give the benefit of the doubt to speech, not censorship."

USA, I think we have a bit of hypocrisy here...

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