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Jacob Sullum inhales yesterday's Supreme Court decisions and comes away a little bit disoriented and confused.

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    And thus we see the problem with the major parties today. Since neither side has anything resembling a real philosophy, just "whatever HE is against", they choose sides on an issue without thinking about it. So you get support of free speech (sort of) on the one hand, and repression of free speech (sort of) on the other hand.

    The worst part of all this is that in the former case, the speaker gets the benefit of the doubt, while in the latter case, the censor gets the benefit of the doubt, all because we can't afford for anyone to get a case of the mad munchies.

    I wonder, would it be okay to say "Bong Hits 4 Jesus, Just Don't Inhale"?

  • ||

    The worst part of these decisions is the inescapable conclusion that the court's rulings amount to "Speech we like is protected, speech we don't like is prohibited" with no other guiding principal.

    We like pro-life speech, it must be permitted. We don't like pro-drug speech, it should be banned. How else can the two cases be reconciled?

  • ||

    We like pro-life speech, it must be permitted. We don't like pro-drug speech, it should be banned. How else can the two cases be reconciled?

    Because drug use is illegal? You don't have any constitutional right to advocate the breaking of laws. You should respect the law, not advocate changing it. Laws are meant to protect us, it is immoral to break any law, anytime, for any reason.

  • Daniel||

    Even Dan T. was a more effective troll. Be gone!

  • Edward||

    God, life is messy from the perspective of an overarching world view with tidy dogmas. Just ask a Marxist these days.

  • thoreau||

    Fred = Juanita?

  • LarryA||

    That's why two of the justices who ruled against Frederick said in a concurring opinion that the Court's new rationale for censorship should apply only to pro-drug speech, as opposed to political or social commentary.

    Excuse me? Pro-drug speech is "political or social commentary."

    I know it's a slippery slope argument, but note that the above opinion justifies censoring speech aimed at changing any law. Immigration reform, tax protesters, concealed handgun license advocates, PATRIOT opponents beware.

  • ||

    That's why two of the justices who ruled against Frederick said in a concurring opinion that the Court's new rationale for censorship should apply only to pro-drug speech, as opposed to political or social commentary.

    So those stop snitching shirts would be illegal because they are advocating obstruction of justice?

    What about flyers urging people to use civil disobedience as a form of protest over unfair laws or application of laws

  • Joe Blow||

    Looks like another 'drug exception' to the bill of rights. You cannot respect the bill of rights while fundamentally violating natural rights.

  • Jeremy||

    How is Bong Hits for Jesus Pro-Drugs and shouldn't we have the right to say anything we want ageinst a law we disapprove of (at any age). Isn't that the point of free speech to be able to say I don't like this law lets change it.

  • ||

    ""How is Bong Hits for Jesus Pro-Drugs and shouldn't we have the right to say anything we want ageinst a law we disapprove of (at any age). ""

    Not at a school event. The parade, or the obervation of, was considered a school event by SCOTUS, not to mention a probable violation of the schools anti-drug policy. Not that I agree. Students seem to have limited constitutional rights. If the student was standing anywhere other than his school, he might have won. Unless his job didn't like it, then the job could fire him and many here wouldn't disagree with that.

    The election law was struck down as unconstitutional.

    I would have to agree that banned speech about a valid law, and whether or not a law passes constitutional muster are two different things. Not all speech is lawful. You can't yell fire in a crowded movie theater. Although my problem is with the idiots trampling over each other without looking to see if the emergency is real than the idiot yelling fire.

  • ||

    I would very much like to see a courageous NYC High School Student hang up a banner saying, "Mayor Bloomberg inhaled and enjoyed it."

    Such a banner is only stating the truth. Neither Bloomberg nor the banner are advocating drug use, are they? Or are they? A slippery slope indeed.

    If you suspend the student for just repeating it, then what about Mayor Bloomberg himself?

  • ||

    The ruling is probably a blessing in disguise. It'll just make more students, and non-students, speak out against drug prohibition. It's like when the Supreme Court ruled in Edwards v. Aquillard in 1987 that you can't challenge evoution in a science class. It just made the anti-evolution movement get bigger.

  • Adam||

    Given that marijuana use is de-facto mainstream, what else could a statement about pot be but social/political commentary? Even saying something as simple as "smoke pot" is an assualt on the facade of innocence that politicians and parents put up, instead of admitting that the War-on-Drugs is a sham.

  • JT Barrie||

    This was a poor case to base free speech on. I have been accused of "misleading" people on drug policy by.... telling the truth? However, in this case, the comment was much more serious about advocating use of marijuana and that is currently illegal. If the statement was about the government lying about marijuana that would be a simple verifiable fact. Apparently you can brazenly lie and that lie will be protected by the first amendment if it advocates a political position. If you brazenly lie and that lie endangers other people it is criminal [yelling "fire" in a crowded theater - when there is no fire]. Of course logically, promoting the drug war with lies does endanger crime victims on a daily basis. Why can't we prosecute police chiefs under the "yelling about fire when there is none" principle. After all, the drug war does cause more crime - even the Drug Czar would admit it if under oath and faced with contempt of court sentencing for refusal to answer.

  • ||

    The real secret to undermining the Constitution is to lure the justices into making decisions on irrelevant extreme case examples. Its like a child's catechism argument "If I walt 'till the last day of the year to go to church and have a car accident on the way and am rushed to the hospital, and can't go to church, will I still be considered a catholic"?. Even children intuitively know that ANY exception undermines the rule. A dozen tiny exceptions makes the rule irrelevant.

    The Supreme Court addressing these issues is like having open heart surgery to treat a hangnail. The risk of degradation of the rule outweighs any possible benefits.

    The Supreme Court's charge is not to glorify the righteous, it is to protect the breadth of our forefathers wisdom and to stand guard over the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

    It is important that the Constitution Protectors recognize the value of experimental civil disobedience. This is the vessel that breeds courage and the willingness to right injustice. This is the virtue that founded this country and the virtue that keeps it from going too far astray.

    A Bong hits for Jesus poster may be more silly than dumping tea in Boston Harbor but it celebrates this virtue and should be celebrated in and of itself. This country is the personification of courage as it exists in the world today. Whether that is a good thing depends upon whether that means that this country sanctions bullies in its higher offices or encourages those virtues that further its (and our) cause of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    It should be a constitutional amendment to allow special rights (or even a little latitude) for youth toward developing courage, wisdom and responsibility. It is these virtues that are the backbone of our future. Our choice of patronage over patronization demonstrates that We the People understand our responsibility to our constituency.

    Perhaps the justices should have a third option in addition to deciding "for" or "against". That would be "Nice try, but the issues you are presenting are unclear. Rephrase your poster so that a lower court can see your point or withdraw your comments."

    The objective, of course, is to raise American virtue, not raze it.

    AH

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