Monday, June 25, 2007

Why I Love Justice Stevens, Part 884,394

DEBORAH MORSE, et al., PETITIONERS v. JOSEPH FREDERICK (Stevens, J., dissenting)

A significant fact barely mentioned by the Court sheds a revelatory light on the motives of both the students and the principal of Juneau-Douglas High School (JDHS). On January 24, 2002, the Olympic Torch Relay gave those Alaska residents a rare chance to appear on national television. As Joseph Frederick repeatedly explained, he did not address the curious message--"BONG HiTS 4 JESUS"--to his fellow students. He just wanted to get the camera crews' attention. Moreover, concern about a nationwide evaluation of the conduct of the JDHS student body would have justified the principal's decision to remove an attention-grabbing 14-foot banner, even if it had merely proclaimed "Glaciers Melt!"

I agree with the Court that the principal should not be held liable for pulling down Frederick's banner.
See Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U. S. 800, 818 (1982). I would hold, however, that the school's interest in protecting its students from exposure to speech "reasonably regarded as promoting illegal drug use," ante, at 1, cannot justify disciplining Frederick for his attempt to make an ambiguous statement to a television audience simply because it contained an oblique reference to drugs. The First Amendment demands more, indeed, much more.

The Court holds otherwise only after laboring to establish two uncontroversial propositions: first, that the constitutional rights of students in school settings are not coextensive with the rights of adults,
see ante, at 8-12; and second, that deterring drug use by schoolchildren is a valid and terribly important interest, see ante, at 12-14. As to the first, I take the Court's point that the message on Frederick's banner is not necessarily protected speech, even though it unquestionably would have been had the banner been unfurled elsewhere. As to the second, I am willing to assume that the Court is correct that the pressing need to deter drug use supports JDHS's rule prohibiting willful conduct that expressly "advocates the use of substances that are illegal to minors." App. to Pet. for Cert. 53a. But 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.

In my judgment, the First Amendment protects student speech if the message itself neither violates a permissible rule nor expressly advocates conduct that is illegal and harmful to students. This nonsense banner does neither, and the Court does serious violence to the First Amendment in upholding--indeed, lauding--a school's decision to punish Frederick for expressing a view with which it disagreed.

Fun With Briefs

Thanks to my maddeningly repetitive but incredible effective legal and research writing professor, I spent at least and hour and a half today trying to write issue statements and headings for an appellate reply brief. Seeing as how "funnel! FUNNEL!" was pounded into my head for not one, not two, BUT THREE semesters, it is something that I take very seriously. I haven't had much of a problem with them this summer, but this was my first substantive brief.

But I'm pretty sure the majority of my difficulties come from the fact that the State's attorney either (1) COMPLETELY missed the argument we raised in the appellant's brief, or (2) decided to f*$k with our minds and just pretend that the issue on appeal is something entirely different from what we put forth in our original brief.

Let me tell you, writing issue statements and headings are not easy when you not only have to point out why you win, but also specifically state why the other guy is just plain wrong. At least, not when you want to keep the sentence under six lines, they're not.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Talk About Your Scrolldown Fug

When I was cruizing Go Fug Yourself today, my browser was posed so that only this much of Miss Tyra Banks was showing:


Not bad, I thought, I like that color. But then I scrolled down.

I believe my actual words were, "Holy God."

Friday, June 15, 2007

My Admiration Society

Once upon a time, when I had another blog that was way cooler than this one, I posted about how I love it when the outfits described in romance novels are purely horrific, but meant to be awesome. It is exponentially better when the romance novel takes place in the 1980's. I included some terrific quotes from some books, too, and they were doozies!

Not too long ago I was thrilled to discover that author Meg Cabot and I share a love of '80's romance novels and today I am extra happy to discover that The Fug Girls also share that love, and more specifically, the love of horribly described outfits in said novels.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Jailhouse Rock

Normally I'm not one to take pleasure from other people's pain, but man oh man, I find this just abso-frickin'-lutely hilarious!


You'd think she was sentenced to death row instead of county jail! I think we can safely say she won't be driving on a suspended license again. Ha!

Monday, June 4, 2007

There Are Advantages To Sloppiness

At least someone in the family appreciates the fact that I don't pick my clothes up off of the floor.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Random Stuff (Because I'm Too Lazy To Craft Separate Posts)

-The constant whistling from the closed AC vent in my office is less annoying than the freezing cold air that pounded down upon me daily.

-Hi, I'm #name omitted for privacy reasons#, and I'm a chocolate-covered-pretzel-aholic. I've been sober now about three months. (And I'm now a trail-mix-aholic.)

-This is already shaping up to be the best celebrity gossip year ever! Paris in jail? Lindsay getting a DUI with coke in the car? Fantastic! Send those hos away!

-I have lost my interest in reading. Even romance novels, really. I hope this is temporary.

-I would really like to know what it's like to have thighs that don't touch. At least for a day.

-I keep spending money that I don't really have. (Although, I do need new clothes because, sadly, the above tidbit is likely never to happen.)

-Many thanks to Justice William Brennan, Jr., for helping me get an A in Criminal Procedure. If it weren't my his quote on my blog, it might not have happened.