Morse v. Frederick re: “BONG HiTS 4 JESUS”

I have not yet read the opinions in this case, but I have been informed of the decision of the court.

I think the court made the correct decision under the facts as presented.

Because I advocate for the end of cannabis prohibition, it would have been my preference for the decision to go the other way, but of course that would be lending precisely an inference to the banner which Mr. Frederick denies. He says that the banner is meaningless, and if that is so, then how is it also protected speech?

If the banner had said SMOKE CRACK 4 SATAN would that have been acceptable?

Now there are real first amendment concerns if this speech were prohibited outright, but it has to be taken as meaningful speech in order to even be addressed as such. Speech can be regulated in some places, none of my readers would (I hope) advocate that people have a right to put up SMOKE CRACK 4 SATAN signs in public schools.

So we can’t even get to the meat of it as far as content restrictions may go, because the sign purportedly has no content.

But Mr. Frederick was an adult, and he had the right to display even a nonsense sign if he chose, and the school principal had no authority over him whatsoever unless he voluntarily remained enrolled in the public school.

I concur in the decision of the court, on my own reasoning above.

I would point out that students have been protected in their political and religious speech. Therefore, the following two banners would presumably pass constitutional muster as protected first amendment speech:



Related posts:

Update: “Bong Hits for Jesus” seems like a good subject for a song.

Update 2: Would you believe it started as a song?

Update 3: Chris Weigant in the Huffington Post (hat-tip Lindsay Beyerstein):

In reading today’s Supreme Court’s decision on Morse v. Frederick, the case of the student in Juneau, Alaska, who unfurled a banner reading “BONG HiTS 4 JESUS” and was subsequently suspended (you can read the story here or at the Washington Post to get the details of the case), one conclusion is crystal-clear: Kids, if you’re going to unfurl such a banner in an effort to get on national television, make sure that you state your case as: ‘LEGALIZE BONG HiTS 4 JESUS’.” Because then the First Amendment will protect you.

I think the real lesson here is to defend your speech. Don’t pretend you didn’t mean something by it, or you’ll never get anywhere. BONG HiTS 4 JESUS was perfectly capable of defense on first amendment religious grounds, but I doubt that Mr. Frederick understood that; at any rate he was unwilling to stand behind the words themselves at all after the sign was taken from him.

Update 4: If I seem harsh towards Joe Frederick, I actually think he did good. Sometimes not winning is as good as winning. We’re discussing BONG HiTS 4 JESUS, aren’t we?

Pete Guither has some more thoughts along these lines, though I gather he thinks the court got it wrong altogether.


Is she a good witch, or a bad witch?

Invent your own titles. Fun for the family*!

*Cannablog has been rated PG. Parental guidance suggested.

Category entry: Stupid (noun)


Nicely inconspicuous, this one is.

Hat-tip Bradley @ Incertus, who has this update:

Curtis Allgier, a convicted burglar and white supremacist, briefly escaped from custody today by stealing a corrections officer’s gun and murdering him. This is not the first time Allgier has been a fugitive– he keeps running from authorities and trying to blend in with the general population.

War criminal

Also recommended:

Eight random things about myself

Ellroon tagged me.

1. All right, here are the rules. 2. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts. 3. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves. 4. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. 5. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Okay, here goes:

  1. I’m not very good at picking random things about myself to talk about.
  2. Unless I am out of town or just waking, you can presume I have taken cannabis within a few hours before or while writing anything here; I would take more cannabis if I could afford it or if I was allowed to grow my own.
  3. I have an orphan genetic disease which causes bone pain.
  4. I have insurance.
  5. I am married.
  6. My wife is smarter than me.
  7. That didn’t count, because it wasn’t about me.
  8. This is an eighth thing and I’m not sure if it’s about me but I wrote it.
  9. I don’t actually follow directions unless I must or feel like it.

Now tagging:

If George Bush is incompetent, who is the president?

A Proclamation by the Vice-President of the United States of America

The Office of the Vice President represents the independent, capitalistic and entrepreneurial spirit of America and has done so publicly since 2001. Wherever oil companies and military industrial complexes are repressed, wherever the morality of disproportionate corporate profits is called into question, the Office of the Vice President is there to remind us of that skyrocketing capital gains for the few at the sake of the huddled masses, yearning for decent jobs and nationalized health care, is the American way.

Two hundred and eighteen years ago, the United States Constitution established the Office of the Vice President. It was implicit in the Constitution that future generations of Americans foresee the need for a fourth branch of government to protect the people from the dangers posed by a tripartite system run amok and to protect the upper class from the great unwashed.

The Office of the Vice President is an institution separate and apart from the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches. As such, it is not subject to the minor and petty demands of the American people, their representatives in Washington, D.C., or any level of the United States judicial system. The Office of the Vice President has the right to claim Executive Privilege despite being separate and apart from said Branch.

While the Chief Executive is tasked under the Constitution with the responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief, the Departments of State and Defense fall under the control and purview of the Office of the Vice President. The Office is within its implied rights to determine and drive foreign policy (including, but not limited to, initiating preemptive strikes on sovereign nations and revealing classified information for personal gain), to establish and maintain domestic energy policy, and to ensure an ever-upward spiral for corporate profits.

To celebrate this great Office all day and every day, the Vice President recommends that the American people tell all who question their individual authority: Go fuck yourselves.

THEREFORE, I, RICHARD BRUCE CHENEY, do hereby proclaim that the Office of the Vice President has been and will continue to be immune from prosecution and/or impeachment or other querulous, ad hominem attacks and investigations by the Legislative Branch.

THEREFORE, I, RICHARD BRUCE CHENEY, do hereby proclaim that the Office of the Vice President has been and will continue to direct the Office of the President and rule on matters of foreign and domestic policy.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.


Playing with food

Hat-tip Phydeaux Speaks.

Recommended listening:

And now for something completely different: