Blockbuster Rulings On Cheerleader’s Free Speech, Farmworker Unions, And Police Power
June 24, 2021
GO, FIGHT, WIN|
For the first time in more than 50 years a high school student won a free-speech case at the Supreme Court yesterday. Justices ruled 8-1 that a Pennsylvania school district violated the First Amendment by punishing one of its students for posting a vulgar Snapchat while she was off-campus. It’s the case made famous by a cheerleader’s social media rant about not making it onto the varsity team. JUSTICE STEPHEN BREYER wrote for the majority and said schools much help teach students the value of free speech. “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.'” JUSTICE CLARENCE THOMAS was solo in dissent.
YOU SHALL NOT PASS|
SCOTUS also ruled yesterday that the state of California cannot allow union representatives to access the private property of agricultural businesses to meet with workers unless businesses are compensated for the visit. Ariane de Vogue and Veronica Stracqualursi with CNN note, “The ruling will imperil not only union organizers in California seeking to reach workers but could make it more difficult for the government to allow temporary access in other areas.”
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS|
Nina Totenberg with NPR reports on the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in the California case which came down along ideological lines. CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS wrote for the majority with all three liberal justices in the dissent. Roberts noted for the court that allowing union organizers on public land amounts to an unconstitutional taking of their property without just compensation.
FAR AND WIDE|
Mark Joseph Stern with Slate argues the Supreme Court’s decision in the California case could reach far beyond farmworkers. “The broader implications extend into nearly every corner of commercial activity in the U.S. In dissent, [JUSTICE] BREYER pointed to ‘the large numbers of ordinary regulations’ that permit an ‘invasion of’ private property. The government can enter a business to examine food products and inspect private schools, for example. Its agents can enter all manner of businesses to ensure compliance with run-of-the-mill health and safety laws.”
AGAIN, YOU SHALL NOT PASS|
The high court ruled Wednesday to limit police power, declining to let officers automatically enter homes without a warrant when they’re in “hot pursuit” of someone for a minor crime. The justices ruled unanimously, with JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN writing for the group. She noted in the decision, “On many occasions, the officer will have good reason to enter — to prevent imminent harms of violence, destruction of evidence, or escape from the home. But when the officer has time to get a warrant, he must do so — even though the misdemeanant fled.”
WASTING NO TIME AT ALL|
The Biden administration has said it will immediately replace the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency after the Supreme Court yesterday ruled it was structured unconstitutionally. Justices made clear in its decision that the president had the authority to oust the regulator who oversees mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
SCOTUS VIEWSThe Washington Post
“This ruling was essential. Schools in recent years have disciplined students for posting photographs of themselves going to a gun range, calling out others as racist or complaining about a school’s failure to maintain safe practices during the pandemic. And, invoking Tinker, schools have also punished students for wearing shirts with Confederate and U.S. flag insignia, or that condemn abortion. All such speech, outside the school, is plainly off limits under this decision. The 50 million public school students across the country can breathe a sigh of relief.”The Hill
“Did the U.S. Supreme Court just rule that companies can profit from the use of slave labor? Many of the headlines following last week’s ruling in the Nestle v. John Doe case incorrectly suggested that conclusion. The reality is quite different.”The Washington Post
“The splashy news out of the Supreme Court is the case of the cursing cheerleader, who won her First Amendment challenge against a Pennsylvania high school that suspended her from the junior varsity squad for posting a vulgar message on Snapchat. The bigger, more ominous news on Wednesday came in two cases that are a lot less sexy, as the court’s conservative majority continued its passion project: limiting the reach of government regulation and enhancing presidential authority over regulatory agencies.”