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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Will U.S. flag ever fly on student T-shirts?

A 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling criticized as an approval of “mob rule” in public schools, has been taken to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case arose in 2010 when school officials at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, California, south of the Bay Area, barred students from wearing shirts bearing the U.S. flag on the Cinco De Mayo Mexican holiday, “because other students might have reacted violently.”

The “mob rule” criticism came from 9th Circuit Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain in his minority dissent of the court’s decision not to rehear the case.

“It is a foundational tenet of First Amendment law that the government cannot silence a speaker because of how an audience might react to the speech,” he wrote. “It is this bedrock principle – known as the heckler’s veto doctrine – that the [majority] panel overlooks, condoning the suppression of free speech by some students because other students might have reacted violently,” he wrote.

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