In a case involving a student who wore a "Homosexuality is Shameful" t-shirt to school, the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that public schools have the right to ban clothing imprinted with slogans that might hurt the feelings of another student. The student had sued the school, claiming their dress code violated his free speech, religious freedom, and due process rights.
"Well, take a look at little mister smarty-pants," said Judge Stephen Reinhardt, addressing little Jimmy Hawthorne, age nine, the litigant in the suit. "Do you even know what your due process rights are? Huh?"
Little Jimmy admitted that he did not.
"So I guess we can throw due process right out of the equation," the judge told Hawthorne, who at times seemed shaken by the proceedings. "I'll bet your mommy and daddy made you wear that shirt to school, didn't they, just hoping that you would get in trouble and they could get their five minutes of television exposure, didn't they? Aha, admit it! Admit it! I'm wise to you kid, I'm gonna tear your world apart. Little Jimmy Hawthorne, you are going down!"
The court later apologized for Judge Reinhardt's outburst.
©2006, Mark Hoback