Federal Court: Kids Wearing American Flag T-Shirts Must Take Them Off, Because People Threatened to Beat Them Up If They Didn’t
Just wait. That’s not the best part.
THE RULING: Kids wearing American flag T-shirts in school can be forced to take them off, because Mexican students threatened to beat them up if they didn’t. Meanwhile, kids wearing Mexican flag T-shirts are allowed to keep them on. Why? Because, silly! Nobody threatened to beat them up!
I’m not making it up:
[O]n Cinco de Mayo 2010, a group of Caucasian students, including the students bringing this appeal, wore American flag shirts to school. A female student approached M.D. that morning, motioned to his shirt, and asked, “Why are you wearing that? Do you not like Mexicans[?]” D.G. and D.M. were also confronted about their clothing before “brunch break.”
*6 As Rodriguez was leaving his office before brunch break, a Caucasian student approached him, and said, “You may want to go out to the quad area. There might be some—there might be some issues.” During the break, another student called Rodriguez over to a group of Mexican students, said that she was concerned about a group of students wearing the American flag, and said that “there might be problems.” Rodriguez understood her to mean that there might be a physical altercation. A group of Mexican students asked Rodriguez why the Caucasian students “get to wear their flag out when we [sic] don’t get to wear our [sic] flag?”
Boden directed Rodriguez to have the students either turn their shirts inside out or take them off. The students refused to do so.
. . . .
The students’ equal protection claim is a variation of their First Amendment challenge. Cf. U.S. CONST. amend. XIV, § 1 (stating that “[n]o State shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”). They allege that they were treated differently than students wearing the colors of the Mexican flag, and that their speech was suppressed because their viewpoint was disfavored. . . . As the district court noted, the students offered no evidence “demonstrating that students wearing the colors of the Mexican flag were targeted for violence.” The students offered no evidence that students at a similar risk of danger were treated differently, and therefore no evidence of impermissible viewpoint discrimination.
Thus, the thugs gets to dictate who gets freedom of expression — and the federal court says that is A-OK.
You can profess (or actually experience) shock, but in reality, this is nothing new. In a world where media outlets routinely permit depictions of Jesus but fuzz out depictions of the prophet Mohammed (remember that South Park episode?), we already knew the operative principle: the people who threaten violence get to squelch speech, while the people who don’t . . . don’t.
While infurating, it’s also (if you think about it) actually bracing to have a federal appeals court announce the rule that only those who threaten violence get their way. Why? Because it reinforces the lesson: you can’t count on federal courts to protect your rights — even vaunted First Amendment rights. Even the most ridiculous, laughable proposition can become Sacred Law if you can get a majority of twits in black robes to vote for it. Mark Twain is credited with saying: “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” The same is true of the courts.
Were you folks doubting my sincerity when I said I have given up on this country? Truly, I have.