Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Eugene Volokh notes a decision by a California State Appeals Court upholding the free speech rights of a student newspaper at Novato High School. A trial court judge originally ruled that speech “likely to cause a violent reaction” was not protected free speech. The trial court judge was essentially enshrining as a limit on free speech the heckler’s veto.
The newspaper article in question was anti-illegal immigration and, the tolerant types that populate the being who they are, the author got beat up for his trouble.
It’s interesting to contrast that state court ruling with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the Harper v. Poway Unified School District ruling from last year. In that case, Harper was prohibited from wearing a anti-gay T-shirt by school officials who feared a potentially violent confrontation. This concern about violence didn’t extend to banning the gay rights group’s “Day of Silence,” just anyone who might have a different view.
Today’s Wall Street Journal op-ed page has an article on the Harper case and the ACLU.