I actually wrote another post for this morning, but I decided to push it back to this afternoon’s post, for it seemed just a little too weird for first thing in the morning! And so, you get the joy of listening to me grumble & grouse first thing in the morning instead! Aren’t you guys lucky? Stay tuned for weird this afternoon!
Score one for free speech!
Brandi Levy was a 14-year old cheerleader on the Junior Varsity team at Mahoney Area High School in Pennsylvania in 2017 when she tried out for the Varsity team … a step up the ladder.
She wasn’t chosen for the Varsity team, and expressed her disappointment and frustration on social media in a moment of anger, writing, “Fuck school. Fuck cheer. Fuck softball. Fuck everything.” Okay, so not the most appropriate language, but she was 14, hurt and angry. Who of us didn’t use that F-bomb to express ourselves when we were 14? And who expects a 14-year-old kid to always be calm and rational when angry? Think about it … when most of us were 14, there were no cell phones, no computers, and no social media, so under similar circumstances we would likely have called our best friend and cried on his/her shoulder for a bit, ranting and cursing. We certainly weren’t going to get penalized by the school for it!
Well, apparently the administrators at Brandi’s school thought they had a right to oversee her off-campus activities, and she was suspended from the Junior Varsity team for one year. Long story short, Brandi, represented by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the school for its decision and in 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia ruled that the First Amendment did not allow public schools to punish students for speech outside school grounds. The logical answer, in my book, and end of story, right? Wrong. The school district took the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, who ruled 8-to-1 yesterday in favour of Brandy Levy, the lone dissenter predictably being Justice Clarence Thomas.
Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the majority, said …
“Our representative democracy only works if we protect the ‘marketplace of ideas.’ Schools have a strong interest in ensuring that future generations understand the workings in practice of the well-known aphorism, ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’.”
Breyer also said, though I don’t think it was part of the formal written decision, that if simply using swear words off campus met the bar for substantially disruptive speech, then … “my goodness, every school in the country would be doing nothing but punishing.”
Ms. Levy, now a college student, said of the ruling …
“The school went too far, and I’m glad that the Supreme Court agrees. I was frustrated, I was 14 years old, and I expressed my frustration the way teenagers do today. Young people need to have the ability to express themselves without worrying about being punished when they get to school.”
As for the ACLU, an organization that I support in spirit, though not monetarily, is not missing a chance to make a buck or two, for they are now selling t-shirts …
“If you’d like to show your support for our fight for free speech rights – including our young client’s right to express herself – you can do so in style with our new “Fuck Everything” Tee, available for pre-order today.” 🙄
I do not care, okay?
Would somebody please … PLEASE tell the mainstream media that We the People do not give one royal shit about Britney Spears??? I do not care about her, her father, or her money! If I get one more “breaking news” update about this single braincell twit, I’m going to turn off my phone for the rest of this month! The one this evening by the New York Times was to inform us that the poor little rich girl just wants her life back. Sorry, folks, no sympathy here! People are being shot in supermarkets, people are going to bed hungry, living on the streets, our voting rights are being butchered, our Congress is a roadblock to progress, the Delta strain of the coronavirus threatens to take still more lives, and racism is running rampant. Little Britney Spears just wanting her life back, wanting her father to stop controlling her purse strings, is Irrelevant with a capital ‘I’. ‘Nuff said.
At least one judge gets it
I have two thumbs up 👍 👍 for U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth. The case he was hearing yesterday was that of Anna Morgan-Lloyd, who had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of demonstrating inside the Capitol on January 6th. Personally, I think the charges are far too mild, especially since this woman told friends that the attack on the Capitol and Congress and her participation in it was “the most exciting day of my life.”
She sang a different tune in court yesterday, however, saying …
“I went there to support … President Trump peacefully. I’m ashamed that it became a savage display of violence that day … It was never my intent to be a part of something that’s so disgraceful to our American people and so disgraceful to our country. I just want to apologize.”
Personally, I do not accept her apology and would like to see her sentenced to federal prison for the next ten years, but … that’s just me. I suppose these lunatics should be glad I’m not a judge, eh? But back to the judge …
He gets the kudos from me for a single, short statement he made before sentencing Ms. Lloyd …
“I’m especially troubled by the accounts of some members of Congress that January 6 was just a day of tourists walking through the Capitol. I don’t know what planet they were on … This was not a peaceful demonstration. It was not an accident that it turned violent; it was intended to halt the very functioning of our government.”
He is exactly right, and there is now evidence to that effect … and more. I hope that those who are charged with more serious crimes than Ms. Lloyd was, also come before Judge Lamberth, for he has shown significant knowledge and understanding, and I don’t think he’s going to let the worst offenders slide because either they don’t like the food in prison or their back hurts!
Ms. Lloyd, meanwhile, got 36 months, 3 years, of probation with a stern warning from the good judge that if she violated the terms of her probation in any way, she will go to jail, no ifs, ands, or buts. Prosecutor Joshua Rothstein called probation appropriate because Morgan-Lloyd had no known ties to extremist groups, did not plan to enter the Capitol, stayed inside one hallway for only about 10 minutes and did not commit any violence or destruction while there.