Another day, another circuit court decision involving a school kid with a wise-ass t-shirt.
Earlier this year, the Ninth Circuit dealt with the case of a kid who wore a T-shirt to school that read, “Be ashamed, our school embraced what God has condemned. Homosexuality is shameful.” (The kid lost; and that’s why they call it the Ninth Circuit.)
Today, the Second Circuit also ruled in favor of the student, on these facts:
[T]he images depicted on the shirt were a martini glass, three lines of cocaine, a razor blade and a straw. According to the court, the alcohol and drug-related images were intended to portray President Bush as a former alcohol and drug user.
The school allowed a large picture of the president’s face, wearing a helmet, superimposed on the body of a chicken. The shirt identified Bush as “Chicken-Hawk-In-Chief.” But it demanded that Zachary cover the alcohol and drug-related images. He did so with duct tape on which he wrote “censored.”
Zachary and his parents then filed suit claiming that he had been required to cover the images in violation of his free speech rights.
These cases are quite en vogue. And even though the slogan wasn’t on his clothing, don’t forget the kid with the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” banner, which Ken Starr is appealing to the Supreme Court.
We like these cases, ’cause they’re more interesting than typical appeals court fare. But they must be quite a headache from the perspective of school administrators — and certainly another argument in favor of dress codes.
Picture this: “Express Yourself,” a Project Runway challenge in which the designers would have to produce an “expressive” outfits. Wouldn’t that be great?
But don’t hold your breath waiting for this. Last year we submitted a feedback form to the Project Runway website, suggesting that they hold a judicial robe design challenge — with the wild ‘n wacky Judge Alex Kozinski as the guest judge. Alas, they haven’t gotten back to us.
‘Offensive’ Speech Gets Narrow Reading at 2nd Circuit [New York Law Journal]
Rehearing on T-shirt is denied [San Francisco Chronicle]
Project Runway [official website]