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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ind. Decisions - "Dueling awareness days and accompanying t-shirts"

Nuxoll v. Indian Prairie School District, an opinion in a case out of Illinois issued late yesterday by the 7th Circuit, is discussed last evening in this entry by Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana.

The ruling is also featured in Robert Loblaw's Decision of the Day. A quote:

Judge Posner’s lead opinion is worth reading, as always. But so is Judge Rovner’s concurrence. While Judge Posner scratches his head wondering why kids are so silly and why anyone would be offended at a t-shirt, Judge Rover spills an inordinate amount of ink explaining why the slogan is derogatory. But she spills even more ink explaining why speech in schools is so important. It is a breath of fresh air after decisions like this and this, in which judges have openly disdained students who pursue First Amendment crusades.
Indeed. Here is a quote from Judge Rovner's dissent, at p. 16:
Moreover, I heartily disagree with my brothers about the value of the speech and speech rights of high school students, which the majority repeatedly denigrates. Youth are often the vanguard of social change. Anyone who thinks otherwise has not been paying attention to the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, the anti-war protests for Vietnam and Iraq, and the recent presidential primaries where the youth voice and the youth vote are having a substantial impact. And now youth are leading a broad, societal change in attitude towards homosexuals, forming alliances among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered (“LGBT”) and heterosexual students to discuss issues of importance related to sexual orientation. ... The young adults to whom the majority refers as “kids” and “children” are either already eligible, or a few short years away from being eligible to vote, to contract, to marry, to serve in the military, and to be tried as adults in criminal prosecutions. To treat them as children in need of protection from controversy, to blithely dismiss their views as less valuable than those of adults, is contrary to the values of the First Amendment.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 24, 2008 01:47 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions