US Supreme Court Rules In Favor Pennsylvania Cheerleader In First Amendment Case

Cheryl Sanders
June 23, 2021

Witold "Vic" Walczak, the legal director of the Pennsylvania ACLU, previously told Insider that school districts effectively had the power to punish the nation's 50 million public-school students for any speech they deemed controversial, even if the students expressed the views off school grounds and outside of school hours.

"While public schools may have a special interest in regulating some off-campus student speech, the special interests offered by the school are not sufficient to overcome B".

As the lone dissenter, Justice Clarence Thomas, argued the majority painted with "broad brushstrokes" in their ruling and essentially ignored "150 years of history supporting the coach".

"The school's regulatory interests remain significant in some off-campus circumstances", it continued.

In 1969, in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, the Supreme Court allowed students to wear black armbands to protest the Vietnam War, saying the students had not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate". Days later, Lee's school accused her of breaching a code of conduct and suspended her from cheerleading for an entire year.

"F-k school f-k softball f-k cheer f-k everything" Brandi Levy, then 14, wrote on Snapchat in 2017. Now 18, Levy recently finished her first year of college. "Because the board's April 2018 resolution purports to authorize certain school employees to go armed while on duty without also requiring that those employees satisfy the training-or-experience requirement (violates state law)".

Before the case made it to the Supreme Court, judges in two federal courts and an appeals court had ruled in favor of Levy. "L.'s words as unworthy of the robust First Amendment protections discussed herein", Breyer said. "But sometimes it is necessary to protect the superfluous in order to preserve the necessary", Breyer wrote in closing his opinion.

Brandi Levy, a former cheerleader in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, and a key figure in a major case about free speech, in an undated photo provided by the American Civil Liberties Union. Levy has granted numerous interviews allowing her name to be used. "If today's decision teaches any lesson, it must be that the regulation of many types of off-premises student speech raises serious First Amendment concerns, and school officials should proceed cautiously before venturing into this territory", Alito wrote.

Put limits on when police can enter a home when chasing someone suspected of a misdemeanor.

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