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OPINION

Do They Still Teach the Constitution in Law School?

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(Alan Crosthwaite/Dreamstime.com)

Michael Dorstewitz By Wednesday, 21 June 2023 12:06 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

A federal district court First Amendment ruling last week should leave everyone, including liberals, wondering, "Is this my America?"

On March 21 Liam Morrison, age 12, was pulled from gym class for wearing inappropriate attire. The Massachusetts John T. Nichols Jr. Middle School 7th grader wore a T-shirt saying, "There are only two genders."

School officials told him that the shirt's message made others feel "uncomfortable." When he declined to change the shirt, he was sent home.

The same thing happened several weeks later when Morrison wore another shirt, this one saying "There are only 'censored' genders," with the word "censored" covering the word "two."

Two conservative nonprofit law firms, Alliance Defending Freedom and Massachusetts Family Institute, filed a complaint in federal district court.

Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer Logan Spena called the school's decision "a gross violation of the First Amendment."

He added, "Public school officials can't force Liam to remove a shirt that states his position when the school lets every other student wear clothing that speaks on the same issue."

Spena asked for a preliminary injunction on Tuesday of last week to allow Morrison to wear the shirt pending the case's conclusion.

Open and shut, right? First Amendment, freedom of expression, a non-obscene political message, not to mention the "sticks and stones" defense.

Nope!

In a 17-page opinion dated Friday, Judge Indira Talwani ruled that "Plaintiff has not established a likelihood of success on the merits where he is unable to counter Defendants' showing that enforcement of the Dress Code was undertaken to protect the invasion of the rights of other students to a safe and secure educational environment."

Here's a pro tip: If a judge can rule from the bench immediately after oral arguments on a fundamental constitutional issue, especially seeking preliminary relief, the Constitution will support the ruling.

But if she needs three days and 17 pages to explain her reasoning, chances are good that it may amount to unconstitutional gobbledygook.

Radio host Sam Stone concluded that for "Democrats: There is no law, only feelings."

And supporting that observation, kids in many cases are encouraged to wear LGBT apparel. Grade schools even have gay Pride parades, where students march down the halls waving rainbow flags.

But stating that "There are only two genders" is somehow dangerous.

The same applies especially to purely political messages. While "Black Lives Matter" T-shirts are encouraged, "All Lives Matter" may be a bit dicey.

And "All Lives Matter" placed above the image of a baby in the womb may even earn you a trip to the principal's office.

But here's the thing. We have the First Amendment so that we can say things that run counter to the popular norm like "only two genders" and "all lives matter."

Speech with which the majority agrees doesn't need protection. The First Amendment was designed to protect disagreeable speech — especially disagreeable political speech.

Judge Talwani was appointed to the bench in 2014 by former President Barack Obama.

And during a recent interview, Obama promoted the use of "digital fingerprints" as a tool to censor "misinformation."

How did we get here?

In his new book, "Decades of Decadence: How Our Spoiled Elites Blew America's Inheritance of Liberty, Security, and Prosperity," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., argued that problems facing America can be traced back to a shift toward globalism.

And sure enough, last week United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres proposed a "coordinated global action to address" what he called the "clear & present threat" of "mis- & disinformation and hate speech."

And the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs declared that Sunday, June 18, was International Day for Countering Hate Speech. It claimed that hate speech:

  • incites violence and intolerance
  • undermines diversity and social cohesion
  • harms peace and development

Michigan Twitter user "Right Glock Mom" immediately recognized the fallacy of that statement.

"Incitement only happens in the weak minded," she tweeted, adding, "The cure for bad speech is MORE speech."

Bingo! That's the whole principle of the First Amendment's free speech clause — to permit the free exchange of ideas, and to debate those ideas with others without government interference.

But the UN would rather government be the final arbiter of what's true and what isn't. And the Biden White House confirmed that it was all-in on that idea. It flagged "problematic" social media posts for censorship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even the U.S. military is getting in on the action. The Intercept reported Saturday that a Pentagon unit was monitoring social media for posts that were unfavorable to current and former high-ranking officers.

As radio host Stone said, "There is no law, only feelings."

And so there is. And until they get back to teaching and following the Constitution, we'll have to rely on the Supreme Court and hope for the best.

Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


MichaelDorstewitz
The whole principle of the First Amendment's free speech clause is to permit the free exchange of ideas, and to debate those ideas with others without government interference.
law school, teach, constitution, first amendment
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2023-06-21
Wednesday, 21 June 2023 12:06 PM
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