High Schooler's Fun Unites Right and Left 

High Schooler's Fun Unites Right and Left 
Posted by CN Staff on March 20, 2007 at 11:28:57 PT
By C.W. Nevius
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Washington, DC -- Talk about a joke getting out of hand. Five years ago a Juneau, Alaska, high school student named Joseph Frederick thought he'd come up with a hilarious prank. He made a sign saying, "Bong Hits 4 Jesus,'' and unfurled it while the Olympic torch was being run through his hometown so lots of television cameras would pick it up. In one sense, it all worked out perfectly. Frederick not only got his 15-foot banner on TV, he managed to annoy his high school principal, Deborah Morse, with whom he'd been feuding.
So how did "Bong Hits 4 Jesus'' wind up before the Supreme Court Monday afternoon? And why was it that Whitewater attorney Kenneth Starr turned up to argue the case? And, best of all, how did a host of conservative legal organizations, including one organized by evangelical religious leader Pat Robertson, end up on the side of "Bong Hits?'' Now that's a joke. As everyone agrees, this offbeat little slogan -- Frederick says he once read it on a snowboard -- turns out to have potentially huge ramifications. They range from the ability of school administrators to restrict what students may say, wear, and display, to a serious discussion of the rights to free speech granted by the First Amendment. And, of course, the exact meaning of the words "bong hits.'' "Suppose,'' said Justice Stephen Breyer during Monday's arguments, "this particular person had whispered to his next door neighbor, "Bong Hits for Jesus, heh, heh, heh.'' Admit it. There's a comment you never expected to hear from a Supreme Court justice. Yet the issues could not be more serious. "It is a very complicated case,'' says Brad Joondeph, a professor of constitutional law at Santa Clara University Law School. "But at the same time it goes to the heart of what public education is all about.'' School administrators contend that students can't turn up at school with offensive T-shirts, sexually inappropriate outfits, or hateful messages. At least that's the argument Starr advanced in supporting Morse and the high school. When she saw the banner, Morse says she ordered Frederick to take it down. When he refused, she confiscated it and ordered him to serve 10 days of detention. That's perfectly fine, Starr said. If the principal says something is inappropriate, it is. "Someone has to interpret the message,'' Starr said in his opening statement to the court, "and the front line message interpreter is the school official.'' But as Joondeph says, "there is no bright-line rule ... that says the school has the right to control the viewpoint of the students.'' In other words, what's wrong with a silly banner? Frederick claims it was just a joke. And, as some of his supporters say, what if he were advocating the smoking of marijuana? Isn't that a topic worthy of debate?  Snipped:Complete Article: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)Author: C.W. NeviusPublished: Tuesday, March 20, 2007Copyright: 2007 Hearst Communications Inc.Contact: letters sfchronicle.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:ACLU Hits 4 Jesus in Smoke At The High Court’ Right To Free Speech
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Comment #3 posted by RevRayGreen on March 20, 2007 at 19:07:26 PT
Cheech and Chong acts before repealing it? 
"Cheech and Chong acts before repealing it? "THAT was Vodka MAN !!!!!!!!!!!NO BONG HITS FOR BUSH !!!!!!!
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Comment #2 posted by Toker00 on March 20, 2007 at 15:08:16 PT
Cannabis is a very dangerous drug.
That's why our Supreme Court Justices are joking about it. Would they be joking if the banner had read Coke Hits 4 Jesus? Eight Balls 4 Jesus? Ice Hits 4 Jesus? Crack Hits 4 Jesus? I don't think so. That tells me these people KNOW cannabis is not a dangerous drug. So why would they ban Free Speech about it? And if ending Cannabis Prohibition is brought before them, will they burst out in Cheech and Chong acts before repealing it? Toke.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 20, 2007 at 12:03:46 PT
Related Article from The San Francisco Chronicle
Schoolhouse Prankster at The GateBy Debra J. SaundersTuesday, March 20, 2007 Every group in power has its fervent rationale for believing that it has a right, even a duty, to suppress speech it doesn't like. That's why America has a Supreme Court -- to slap some sense into the censorious. Yesterday, lawyers argued a case that should have been settled years ago. It began in January 2002. As an Alaska high school released students so that they could attend a "Winter Olympics Torch Relay," then-18-year-old senior Joseph Frederick unfurled a banner that read, "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" from a Juneau sidewalk. Frederick thought the nonsensical message would get him on TV.Complete Article:
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