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Supreme Court rejects school's appeal in anti-Bush T-shirt case

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court today refused to hear a school district's appeal of a ruling that it violated a student's rights by censoring his anti-Bush T-shirt.

A seventh-grader from Vermont was suspended in May 2004 for wearing a shirt that bore images of cocaine and a martini glass — but also had messages calling President Bush a lying drunk driver who abused cocaine and marijuana, and the "chicken-hawk-in-chief" who was engaged in a "world domination tour."

After his suspension, Zachary Guiles returned to school with duct tape covering the offending images.

Williamstown Middle School Principal Kathleen Morris-Kortz said the images violated the school dress code, which prohibits clothing that promotes the use of drugs or alcohol.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the school had no right to censor any part of the shirt.

On June 25, in its ruling in Morse v. Frederick, the Supreme Court said schools could regulate student expression that advocated illegal drug use. Justice Samuel Alito cautioned that schools could not censor political speech.

Today's denial of certiorari, however, was made without explanation.

The case is Marineau v. Guiles, 06-757.

Court dresses down Vt. school over censorship of boy's T-shirt
2nd Circuit panel rules 3-0 that Zachary Guiles' First Amendment rights were violated when he was ordered to cover parts of anti-Bush shirt. 08.31.06


Meaning of 'plainly offensive' speech anything but clear

By David L. Hudson Jr. Federal circuits are split over how to apply 1986 Supreme Court decision on student expression. 09.20.06

First Amendment claims get mixed reception at Court

By Tony Mauro Rulings shed light on how more conservative majority looks at the First Amendment — and how the moderate-liberal wing is losing ground. 06.26.07

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