Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bong Hits For ONAF

I'm off to Tahiti in a half-hour, but I thought I'd just mention this:

Morse v. Frederick will go down as the second-worst decision the Court has made in 20 years (narrowly losing out to Kelo v. New London). This is an absurd ruling that has no basis in anything approaching legal reasoning. The "prevention of illegal drug use" is the worst excuse yet for the violation of free speech rights.

This is why we shouldn't rely on the Supreme Court to fight our battles for us. The Alaska legislature should have nipped this in the bud by passing a law making it illegal for school administrators to punish off-campus non-school-related student speech. It seems redundant when it's placed next to the First Amendment, but obviously it's not.

The islands call. Later, folks.


Pierce said...

Kelo v. New London is awful, but in my opinion that's not really the court's fault. The constitution is ambiguous about "public use" and it's arguable but not completely unreasonable to interpret it as "use which the government decides will benefit the public." If we find it objectionable, we should be pressuring legislatures to clearly define its breadth beforehand.

Morse v. Frederick, on the other hand, relies on the concept of in loco parentis, in which the state gets to abridge minors' civil rights just like parents can when the state is put in the position of caregiver (such as when students are at school). Given that the constitution doesn't provide for the state acting as caregiver in the first place, I've never been really clear on how this legal tradition has withstood any challenges.

Then, despite the Tinker v. Des Moines precedent that this abridgment can only be for consitutionally valid reasons, the court claims that the school's interest in protecting students from drug abuse supersedes Frederick's right to express what would otherwise be protected speech. This is on the same day that the Chief Justice wrote, in a decision favoring a pro-life group, "Where the First Amendment is implicated, the tie goes to the speaker, not the censor."

So Kelo is crappy because the laws are crappy. But Frederick proves this court's inconsistency with both its predecessors' and it's own opinions, even when the laws themselves are comparatively reasonable.

Mike said...

Pierce raises a valid point: Kelo is more a fault of constitutional wording combined with judicial idiocy, whereas Morse is judicial idiocy without any sort of constitutional backing. However, I will agree with Jeff that in terms of sheer negative impact on the country, Kelo packs a harder punch.

Of course, I must take a brief moment to raise the argument that none of this would be necessary bong hits were legalized, as they should be, regardless of whether they are done in the name of the Christian messiah.

Now, all that having been said, I must ask: are any of us really surprised? We knew what the Supreme Court would look like once Bush was through (hell, I feared worse back in 2000). The nanny state: crushing private citizens while protecting private corporations (since 1887).

Finally, I just want to mention that it is an indication of Jeff's sheer awesomeness that, on the way to his honeymoon, he takes a brief moment to point out governmental hypocrisy. Have a blast in Tahiti!

Pierce said...


(was out of the loop)