Blog Hints For Bong Hits

Finally, the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” (Morse v Frederick) case has its ultimate day in court – oral argument at the US Supreme Court. This was one of my favourite free speech cases of 2006 (at the level of the Court of Appeal: opinion here), and the questions presented to the Supreme Court are broad ones relating to students and speech. Mr. Frederick (a school student) tried to take advantage of some passing television cameras (in town for a Winter Olympics torch relay; students had some time off in celebration/recognition/whatever) to display a banner with those words as the parade went by. (It’s no Fuck The Draft, but it’s still a good one).

In the most teenage terms, the school principal (like) totally freaked out. Crumples up the banner, suspends him, etc. He goes through the various procedures, and then eventually heads off to court. Stage one, she wins. Stage two, he does. Stage three happens next week. Cornell’s Legal Information project has a detailed preview, setting out the case history and the legal issues at stake.

Watch this space.


10 thoughts on “Blog Hints For Bong Hits

  1. Linda Greenhouse has an interesting take on the case in this Sunday’s New York Times; she analyses the various amicus briefs, and highlighting the range of religious and conservative groups that have taken the side of the student. Not because of the special marajuana-Christ relationship, but as the school’s argument (that they get to control free speech at school) is obviously a threat to (in particular) religious clubs and groups in public schools.


  3. All the people that agree with this teenager are probably the same people that get irate when someone voices their personal opinion about them.

    What purpose did it serve for this teen to make a public spectacle of himself other than a few moments of undeserved media attention that he craves? He made it very clear what his intention was when he began this ridiculous charade. The fact is that anyone that supports a troublemaker is likely prone to the same character traits (or should I say, ‘lack of?’) until someone starts trouble with them.

  4. Interesting comments. Let me try to come up to their standards. Two posts on SCOTUSblog (here and here) discussed the substance of the case in advance of the hearing. Roger Alford has two interesting posts about this on Opinio Juris. His first, Comparative Free Speech About Bong Hits, is an only partially tongue-in-cheek prediction of oral arugment; in his second, Transcript in Morse v. Frederick, he sets out the basis for some of his comments, and links to the transcript of the case on US Supreme Court‘s site. Why don’t we have a similar service in Ireland? Finally, Alice Ristroph on Concurring Opinions, in her post Bong Hits for What?, raises what I think is really the key question about this whole case:

    One of the things I find most interesting—and amusing—about the case is a slightly different underlying question: what does “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” mean, anyway?

  5. Ok. Trying again. I left a long message which the system lost. The transcript is here. Here are the highlights of my earlier post, with several more added links, found whilst trying to find the links that featured in the missing message: see here, here, here, here, here, here, here (all from SCOTUSblog), wikipedia (inevitably), Slate (almost as inevitably), here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here, raising the real issue in the case:

    One of the things I find most interesting—and amusing—about the case is a slightly different underlying question: what does “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” mean, anyway?

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