Saturday, April 22, 2006

Judicial Mischief

Eugene Volokh is rightly outraged at another Ninth Circuit fiasco.

This is a very bad ruling, I think. It's a dangerous retreat from our tradition that the First Amendment is viewpoint-neutral. It's an opening to a First Amendment limited by rights to be free from offensive viewpoints. It's a tool for suppression of one side of public debates (about same-sex marriage, about Islam, quite likely about illegal immigration, and more) while the other side remains constitutionally protected and even encouraged by the government.

Eugene is right that this is a disturbing case, but I think the meddling in the adminstration of education was a mistake in the first place. But, if the Court is to enforce the First Amendment within the schoolhouse gate, it should do so from a viewpoint neutral paradigm. Lots of lively discussion in the comments.

Update: Dale Carpenter has a thoughtful post on the case as well.

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