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Volokh Conspiracy

Liberty Comes to Liberty High School—"Trump Border Wall" T-Shirt Allowed

But it took a federal court order.


Liberty High School in Oregon barred student Addison Barnes from wearing this T-shirt to school, but Tuesday a federal district judge issued a temporary restraining order requiring the school to allow the shirt. The Oregonian (Maxine Bernstein) writes:

The school district is entitled to be concerned about the response of other students to the T-shirt, [U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman] said. But the "thin" court record so far offers little support for the district's argument that the shirt could "substantially disrupt" the school, he said.

"There's not enough to go on here to show that sort of legitimate concern justifying censorship of this core political speech," Mosman ruled.

Barnes earlier this month sued the high school, the principal and school district, arguing they violated his First Amendment rights when he was told to go home or cover up the shirt in class…. The shirt reads: "Donald J. Trump Border Wall Construction Co." with the phrase "The Wall Just Got 10 Feet Taller."

There is no written opinion (there often isn't with temporary restraining orders), and the transcript of the hearing is not yet available, but I expect that, if the case doesn't settle, there will be a written opinion at later stages.

Congratulations to Brad Benbrook, Steve Duvernay, and Benjamin Becker, who represented Barnes; I have consulted closely with Brad and Steve on past First Amendment cases for the Firearms Policy Coalition, though this was not a Firearms Policy Coalition case.