Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Student In First Amendment Case
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On Monday, March 8, 2021, the Supreme Court revived a lawsuit brought by a former student, Chike Uzuegbunam, seeking to hold his state university, Georgia Gwinnett College, accountable for violating his First Amendment rights when the school barred him from speaking about his religion and distributing religious literature.
Please also refer to the excerpt about this case from wikipedia, in italics, below:
Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, 592 U.S. ___ (2021) is a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, dealing with nominal damages to be awarded to individuals whose right to freedom of speech has been suppressed by an entity but subsequently rendered moot due to intervening circumstances. In an 8–1 decision, the Court held that such nominal damages satisfy the Article Three requirement of redressability, when awarded for a past violation of a legal rights.
The ADF (Alliance Defending Freedom) petitioned the US Supreme Court to hear Uzuegbunam’s case on the basis that the split created by the Eleventh Circuit still remained unresolved. The Supreme Court granted certiorari in October 2020. Oral arguments were held on January 12, 2021. Observers said the Justices appeared to side with Uzuegbunam’s argument, citing the use of nominal damages that Taylor Swift had sought for and was awarded in a 2017 lawsuit made against a Denver radio show host that she said had groped her; Justice Elena Kagan stated that Swift sought nominal damages in her case as, as Kagan described in Swift’s mindset: “I just want a dollar, and that dollar is going to represent something both to me and to the world of women who have experienced what I’ve experienced.”, with the same principle applying to Uzuegbunam’s case.
The Court issued its ruling on March 8, 2021. In an 8–1 decision, the Court reversed the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case for further review. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion joined by all but Chief Justice John Roberts. Thomas wrote that Uzuegbunam had experienced a violation of his rights, even if the situation was now moot, and “Because ‘every violation [of a right] imports damage,’ nominal damages can redress Uzuegbunam’s injury even if he cannot or chooses not to quantify that harm in economic terms.” Justice Brett Kavanaughwrote a concurring opinion.
Roberts wrote a dissenting opinion, which constituted the first time of his entire tenure that he authored a sole dissenting opinion. In his opinion, Roberts argued that because the case was moot, the courts had no reason to continue to keep the case alive through the awarding of nominal damages, and said that the majority opinion created a “major expansion” of the courts’ role.
Justice Clarence Thomas allowed the lawsuit to continue even though the student has since graduated and was only asking for $1 in damages and that the school’s policy be changed. Justice Thomas wrote that it was undisputed that Uzuegbunam’s rights were violated and that he could proceed with the case even though he was only seeking nominal damages.
In 2016, Georgia Gwinnett College officials stopped student Chike Uzuegbunam not once, but twice, from peacefully sharing his Christian faith with fellow students on his college campus. First, officials said he had to get advance permission to use one of two tiny speech zones that made up far less than 1% of the campus and were only open 10% of the week. Despite following these policies, Chike was again prevented from speaking. After ADF challenged the unconstitutional policies, Georgia Gwinnett argued that Chike’s speech should receive no constitutional protection, changed its policy, and claimed it should be able to avoid any penalty for violating Chike’s free speech rights. Two courts agreed. Now the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Chike’s case, in the video published on November 23, 2020, “Chike Uzuegbunam’s Story“, below:
In the video published on March 9, 2021, “Supreme Court Sides With Christian Student In College Free Speech Case“, below:
In the video published on March 8, 2021, “Supreme Court Backs Georgia College Student’s Free Speech Suit“, below:
For more details about this case, please click HERE.
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker More about the community at www.WindermereSun.com
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