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U.S. Supreme Court: Former College Student Can Sue For Free Speech Violation, Roberts Is Sole Dissent

U.S. Supreme Court: Former College Student Can Sue For Free Speech Violation, Roberts Is Sole Dissent

Issue was whether a former student who suffered no compensatory damages and no longer was a student, had standing to maintain the lawsuit despite having only nominal damages. Seven Justices said yes, Roberts said no.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Official_roberts_CJ.jpg

In January 2017, we covered a lawsuit filed by a Gwinnett College student objecting to so-called “free speech” zones which restricted free speech to certain locations, Christian Student Sues College for Right to Preach on Campus.

As Fox News reported at the time:

A Christian student is suing a college in Georgia for allegedly violating his free speech rights by severely limiting his preaching on campus.

Chike Uzuegbunam filed a complaint on Monday against officials with Georgia Gwinnett College in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division.

In the complaint, Uzuegbunam took issue with GGC’s “Freedom of Expression Policy,” which the suit says “restricts all types of student speech to two small speech zones that occupy less than 0.0015 percent of campus.”

“To use these speech zones, students must submit a ‘free speech area request’ form three days in advance and submit any publicity materials and literature they want to distribute to administrators for review,”

We further reported when the Trump administration backed the student, Trump Administration Joins Battle Against Restricting Campus Free Speech.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an Opinion authored by Justice Thomas on March 8, 2021, in the case, with the issue turning on whether someone who claimed only “nominal” damages was able to sue. The Court held that such a free speech denial was actionable, with only Chief Justice Roberts dissenting.

The problem for a student who sues is that in a matter of a small number of years, the student graduates while the lawsuit can linger. The issue is whether once the student graduates, the student still has a personal interest in the case sufficient to satisfy the “standing” requirement. Here, the student claimed nominal damages as a continuing injury.

Justice Thomas and seven other Justices agreed the student could maintain the lawsuit. From the Thomas majority opinion:

At all stages of litigation, a plaintiff must maintain a personal interest in the dispute. The doctrine of standing generally assesses whether that interest exists at the outset, while the doctrine of mootness considers whether it exists throughout the proceedings. To demonstrate standing, the plaintiff must not only establish an injury that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct but must also seek a remedy that redresses that injury. And if in the course of litigation a court finds that it can no longer provide a plaintiff with any effectual relief, the case generally is moot. This case asks whether an award of nominal damages by itself can redress a past injury. We hold that it can.

After reviewing the common law history of nominal damages, Justice Thomas wrote:

Respondents and the dissent thus get the relationship between nominal damages and compensatory damages backwards. Nominal damages are not a consolation prize for the plaintiff who pleads, but fails to prove, compensatory damages. They are instead the damages awarded by default until the plaintiff establishes entitlement to some other form of damages, such as compensatory or statutory damages. See, e.g., Dods, 15 C. B. N. S., at 621, 627, 143 Eng. Rep., at 929, 931 (prevailing plaintiff entitled to nominal damages as a matter of law even where jury neglected to find them); see also Stachura, 477 U. S., at 308 (rejecting the argument that courts could presume, without proof,damages greater than nominal).

The argument that a claim for compensatory damages is a prerequisite for an award of nominal damages also rests on the flawed premise that nominal damages are purelysymbolic, a mere judicial token that provides no actual benefit to the plaintiff…. Despite being small, nominal damages are certainly concrete….

The next difficulty faced by respondents and the dissent is their inability to square their argument with established principles of standing. Because redressability is an “‘irreducible’” component of standing, Spokeo, 578 U. S., at 338, no federal court has jurisdiction to enter a judgment unless it provides a remedy that can redress the plaintiff ’s injury. Yet early courts routinely awarded nominal damages alone. Certainly, no one seems to think that those judgments were without legal effect. Those nominal damages necessarily must have provided redress….

Because nominal damages were available at common law in analogous circumstances, we conclude that a request for nominal damages satisfies the redressability element of standing where a plaintiff’s claim is based on a completed violation of a legal right.

The Roberts dissent argued:

Petitioners Chike Uzuegbunam and Joseph Bradford want to challenge the constitutionality of speech restrictions at Georgia Gwinnett College. There are just a few problems: Uzuegbunam and Bradford are no longer students at the college. The challenged restrictions no longer exist. And the petitioners have not alleged actual damages. The case is therefore moot because a federal court cannot grant Uzuegbunam and Bradford “any effectual relief whatever.” Chafin v. Chafin, 568 U. S. 165, 172 (2013) (internal
quotation marks omitted).

The Court resists this conclusion, holding that the petitioners can keep pressing their claims because they have asked for “nominal damages.” In the Court’s view, nominal damages can save a case from mootness because any amount of money—no matter how trivial—“can redress a past injury.” Ante, at 1. But an award of nominal damages does not alleviate the harms suffered by a plaintiff, and is not intended to. If nominal damages can preserve a live controversy, then federal courts will be required to give advisory opinions whenever a plaintiff tacks on a request for a dollar. Because I would place a higher value on Article III, I respectfully dissent.

Had the standing issue be resolved the way Roberts wanted, it would have made suing colleges for free speech violations very difficult. There often are no compensatory damages from being prevented from speaking, and injunctive relief may not be available to someone no longer a student and who therefore has no continuing interest in what happens on campus. Also, given how long litigation can take, many student litigants will graduate before the case is over. So nominal damages may be the only continuing interest, and if that were not enough, colleges would escape all accountability.

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Comments

Richard Aubrey | March 9, 2021 at 7:35 am

IANAL
But I am recalling a number of remarks to the extent of “What DO they have on this guy?”

I have no idea, except to say Roberts is not as advertised. This case tells universities that if they can string the thing out long enough–couple of years might be feasible–no problem. So, whatever Roberts’ legal conclusion, the result is to free up universities without restriction because….once the plaintiff is out…it’s all good. Which he must know and favor. It might be THE LAW, except nobody else thinks so.
Or does this trigger an interest in “expulsion in contemplation of litigation”? I’m working on the scansion.

    TX-rifraph in reply to Richard Aubrey. | March 9, 2021 at 8:21 am

    What do they have on this guy? Ask Ghislaine Maxwell. She has him by the…never mind.

    When Roberts is the only opposed, then it “moots” the idea he is compromised, and suggests he is just what he appears to be:

    A committed communist with a worthless piece of paper called a degree.

    Most of these people are no more intelligent than the average cockroach.

      Titan28 in reply to Barry. | March 9, 2021 at 12:40 pm

      @Barry. Average cockroach. A bon mot. Excellent.

      Danny in reply to Barry. | March 9, 2021 at 6:59 pm

      Sorry if I come across as a word for a donkey but do you actually know what a communist is?

      I’m glad the supreme court is hearing the case and hope the free speech side wins.

      Roberts made a dissent I disagree with

      In what way does that make him a communist?

        CaptTee in reply to Danny. | March 10, 2021 at 9:26 pm

        Communists are opposed to free speech when it disagrees with their party line, otherwise they are in favor of it.

      jmt9455 in reply to Barry. | March 10, 2021 at 11:02 am

      What do you have against cockroaches? ??After all they can survive a nuclear blast! Clear signs that they are a higher species than the black robed creatures!

      Come on – he’s no more a ‘communist’ than you or I. He’s merely a swamp rat: he goes with whoever pays. Or whoever has videos of him having sex with underage girls.

    Anacleto Mitraglia in reply to Richard Aubrey. | March 9, 2021 at 10:19 am

    Your capoitalized first line is a bit confusiong.
    I REGULAR

    Roberts and the court should take these cases on the same basis of the standing versus statute of limitations, i.e. the state when filed.

      Milhouse in reply to Neo. | March 9, 2021 at 3:48 pm

      Standing is determined at time of filing. But if a case becomes moot midway, it must be dismissed (unless an exception applies). “Moot” means there is no remedy the court can provide. If there’s no remedy then there’s no case or controversy, and therefore the court has no authority. The question here was whether a request for nominal damages is enough to save it from mootness.

    It seems to me that simply establishing precedent is an interest that survives challenge. Of course, it may technically be considered to be an “advisory opinion” but when the problem remains unaddressed you truly need an exception to the doctrine of mootness. Does the Court then require cases to be designated as class actions to avoid mootness? Just another waste of judicial effort.

      Milhouse in reply to jimB. | March 10, 2021 at 4:02 pm

      “Establishing precedent” is not just technically an advisory opinion, it’s the very definition of one, and the prohibition against advisory opinions is fundamental. It’s part of what prevents the judiciary from becoming a dictatorship, as it has in Israel.

    sofwarrior in reply to Richard Aubrey. | March 10, 2021 at 8:16 pm

    Roberts is a pos that was given power by Bush. He is nothing but a leftist prick who needs to be removed from the court and Thomas named Chief. Roberts is also the cause of all the denials of the Trump suits against the stolen election. He needs to go!

    Wasn’t is some time ago last year, that we were reading about the possibility of Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet flight logs being released, and then the story went into the Black Hole. How many names are in those logs and is one of the our CJ? Enquiring minds want to know. He saved Obamacare and quashed the vote fraud cases. Gotta wonder.

Had the standing issue be resolved the way Roberts wanted, it would have made suing colleges for free speech violations very difficult.

If standing is resolved Roberts’ way, suing pretty much any aspect f The Swamp is damn near impossible.

The man is not being blackmailed — he is a willing Swamp denizen.

    irv in reply to McGehee. | March 9, 2021 at 8:47 am

    Why couldn’t it be both? Willing AND “compromised.”

      The willing don’t need to be compromised — other than by being willing.

        Arminius in reply to McGehee. | March 9, 2021 at 9:43 pm

        Somebody can be both willing AND compromised. It depends on what they were willing to do at first and had to be coerced to do later.

        A bar or restaurant owner might get in bed with the mafia to buy untaxed liquor smuggled in from out of state. Then the mob demands the establishment owner let them use the basement to dismember bodies.

        The owner is unwilling to go along with that, but guess what? They’re already compromised by entering into a criminal conspiracy in the first place.

        It happens often in espionage. Think Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and his PRC spy girlfriend Fang Fang. It was a classic Honey Trap (or Honey Pot Trap). Now in this situation I don’t doubt Eric Swalwell would have been willing to sell out the U.S. to the PRC gratis, although it seems to be a good paying gig. In fact Nancy Pelosi was apparently briefed by the FBI on the situation and, in what can only be described as the largest act of contempt for U.S. security since Hillary! built a unsecure unauthorized server in her basement, she still put him on the House Intel Committee and made him chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the CIA.

        Not only did she know he’s compromised, he’s way to junior for those assignments and has zero relevant experience. I guess the CHICOMs pay well; just ask Hunter Biden and the “big guy.”

        The CHICOMs probably didn’t need to toss in a sex toy to sweeten the deal in Swalwell’s case, but I guess the CHICOMs didn’t know that. But that’s why the call it a trap. Some people might be willing to do some things but then draw a line. They have to extorted to go over that line.

        In DoD military and civilian personnel with TS/SCI clearances* are supposed to report contacts with foreign nationals. Sometimes and especially if they’re romantically involved they don’t, and just that gives the foreign intel service leverage over their target. And the requests for information start small. The new girlfriend may ask for something seemingly innocent, like an official phone directory for “business purposes;” her company wants to develop contacts, she says. The guy who, like Swalwell, was always getting rejected by girls since high school thinks, “Why not?”

        But the directory is For Official Use Only (FOUO) and it’s still an offense to give it out.

        Before the dweeb knows it he’s in way over his head, he’s irredeemably compromised, and so he does whatever the foreign intel service demands.

        A classic example of someone who was seduced by a classic honey trap, someone who really had to be compromised, from what for me isn’t the so distant past.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clayton_J._Lonetree

        “…Lonetree is the first U.S. Marine to be convicted of spying against the United States.[3] Lonetree, who was stationed in Moscow as a guard at the U.S. Embassy in the early 1980s, confessed in 1987 to selling documents to the Soviet Union. Lonetree was seduced by a 25-year-old female KGB officer named “Violetta Seina”[4][5] in that year. He was then blackmailed into handing over documents when he was assigned to Vienna, Austria, including the blueprints of the U.S. Embassy buildings in Moscow and Vienna and the names and identities of U.S. undercover intelligence agents in the Soviet Union.

        He was tried in a court-marital at Quantico, Virginia and convicted of all 13 counts – six of espionage, three of conspiracy to commit espionaige and four of violating general regulations – on August 21, 1987.

        Lonetree faced the possibility of a life sentence or being shot dead by a firing squad, but initially received a 30-year sentence with a reduction in rank from E-5 to E-1, a fine of $5,000, the loss of all military pay and allowances, and a dishonorable discharge.

        The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Alfred M. Gray Jr., recommended to the Secretary of the Navy that Lonetree’s sentence be reduced from 30 to 15 years in a letter written in 1989, that said that the effect of Private Lonetree’s actions “was minimal.” In addition, he said, the Marine’s motivation “was not treason or greed, but rather the lovesick response of a naive, young, immature and lonely troop in a lonely and hostile environment.” His sentence was subsequently reduced to 15 years…”

        *The reason Marines guard our embassies is to protect the classified information. When I’m ever asked about my favorite weapon I always say a detachment of Marines. I was a watch officer at an installation designate “vital to U.S. national security.” When I had duty in the absence of the CO/XO I had lethal force authorization. If I ever determined that someone had made unauthorized entry and breached our security and I ordered the Marines to prevent the offender’s escape, if they couldn’t catch the perp they’d kill him.

        And during the subsequent and inevitable inquest the Marines on duty only had to answer one question; “Did the watch officer order you to stop the unauthorized individual?” The answer would be “yes,” and the investigating officers would thank the Marines for their time. They were off the hook, and if it turned out somehow to be a bad shoot then I was the only responsible party.

        The installation was a small command on a small base. We only had a single all hands club. I was having dinner with a visiting Royal Australian Navy officer. The RAN officer couldn’t believe a Marine would actually kill someone just on my say so. Right then one of the Marines walked in to get dinner or a drink or something and as he walked by the table I asked him to stop for a minute. “Do you know who I am,” I asked. The Marines knew the CO, XO, and the four watch officers by sight; they had our pictures posted at the guard post. He addressed me by my name/rank and confirmed he knew who I was. “If I ordered you to stop anyone would you kill him if you had to.” He locked himself up at attention and said with enthusiasm and glee, “Sir, yes, sir!”

        He didn’t need to lock himself up at attention; jeez, we’re off duty. And technically that’s a “sir sandwich” and a “Yes, sir!” would have been more correct but the guy was so psyched at the thought of killing someone in the line of duty he couldn’t help himself. The fact that he was so filled with zeal at the thought of the opportunity, though, definitely made a believer out of the digger.

        I was friends with one of the USMC Majors who was an OIC of the Marine Security Guard School in Quantico. It never occurred to me to ask what kind of clearance MSGs have, or if regardless of clearance they have to report all their foreign contacts, suspicious foreign contacts, none at all, and I’m sure I wouldn’t have asked if it had occurred to me because I don’t talk shop in bars. But I’m sure the MSGs have reporting requirements and Lonetree didn’t report he had a Soviet girlfriend.

          venril in reply to Arminius. | March 12, 2021 at 9:35 am

          Lonetree’s actions certainly resulted in the deaths or turning of undercover spooks in the USSR.

          “…and the names and identities of U.S. undercover intelligence agents in the Soviet Union. …”

          He should have been shot.

    Danny in reply to McGehee. | March 9, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    Either that or he thinks the case is moot because only nominal damages are involved.

    Professor Jacobson has warned us here at legal insurrection many times that the law isn’t always what we want it to be or what it should be.

    Roberts thinks nominal damages aren’t enough to save the case from moot status, I disagree, and am glad the other justices also disagree. That in no way means he is a a bad guy.

    What it does mean is you might want to post why you disagree with him on this legal issue instead of just rhetoric.

    Arminius in reply to McGehee. | March 9, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    Actually Roberts provided a roadmap to getting any case tossed.

    How long has Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin been going on? I know the pretrial motions were submitted in spring 2019. If I remember correctly the original theft and then the defamation occurred in 2018. Three years, maybe longer. And Oberlin is still trying to run out the clock.

    So you can bring a lawsuit as a sophomore and if Roberts had his way suing some private entity with deep pockets means plaintiff ever wins.

    Then Roberts made it worse.

    “The challenged restrictions no longer exist.”

    So all an college or even a government agency has to do is get rid of the some bureaucratic rule, and if Roberts had his way then a plaintiff’s lawsuit is “moot.”

    And then once the suit is tossed out reintroduce another rule that no doubt would have to be worded differently enough so the entity can claim it’s somehow a new rule but accomplishes the same end as the original.

    The Cuomo admin tried to get a suit against the state dropped. I forget what exactly it concerned but I believe the ruse worked as I recall Gorsuch dissenting, saying exactly what I said. That a government (or private entity like a college) can simply reintroduce a rule as soon as it’s out of legal jeopardy.

    And Roberts is apparently fine with that.

      ss396 in reply to Arminius. | March 10, 2021 at 10:08 am

      The New York case was that religious institutions sued claiming they were burdened more heavily in Cuomo’s COVID lockdowns than were other venues of similar groupings and interactions. When the case got to the Supreme Court, Cuomo changed the restrictions — and the SC refused to hear it because it was now moot. IIRC, Thomas and Alito were livid, and actually wrote an opinion on why the Court should have heard the case. IIRC, again, there was a similar Pennsylvania case, with similar outcome.

      Roberts is apparently OK with a “just kidding” resolution to legal challenges.

        henrybowman in reply to ss396. | March 10, 2021 at 11:28 pm

        Yes, but that was merely a retread of the trick NYC pulled after being challenged on their stupid gun law that forbade licensees from taking their guns to shooting ranges outside the city limits. When the question got cert, altered the law before the court could hear the case, evading the setting of a precedent. Pure weaselry.

      Milhouse in reply to Arminius. | March 10, 2021 at 4:14 pm

      Actually Roberts provided a roadmap to getting any case tossed.

      Nonsense. For instance, consider the Oberlin case which you raise immediately after. How would Roberts’s position, if adopted, help you get that tossed?

      And Oberlin is still trying to run out the clock.

      There is no clock. It doesn’t matter if it takes ten years, they will eventually have to pay (unless they win on appeal, of course).

      So you can bring a lawsuit as a sophomore and if Roberts had his way suing some private entity with deep pockets means plaintiff ever wins.

      Only if there are no damages.

      “The challenged restrictions no longer exist.”
      So all an college or even a government agency has to do is get rid of the some bureaucratic rule, and if Roberts had his way then a plaintiff’s lawsuit is “moot.”

      Only if the relief you’re seeking is an injunction. And yes, in that event the court has already held that this would moot the case. But if you suffered damages, and are seeking them, then the only thing that will make the case moot is if the defendant voluntarily pays up.

    McGehee,

    NOBODY in the swamp is as corrupted as this guy. For a man who has a lifetime appointment, he acts like he’s running for a swamp office every year.

    NO WAY this guy is not compromised..

One can imagine Roberts as a judge at the Nuremberg trials:

“The war is over, there are no more concentration camps and the Nazi government no longer exists. So Bormann, Doenitz, Frank, Goering, Hess, Jodl, Keitel and the others should not be found guilty because the case is moot.”

    You’re an idiot. You’re challenging the entire mootness doctrine, which automatically makes you wrong.

    A crime having already happened not only doesn’t make a criminal trial moot, it’s a requirement for the trial to happen in the first place. The relief the prosecution is seeking isn’t available until the crime has been committed, and is available thereafter. Once it becomes unavailable the case does indeed become moot, which is why it’s impossible to prosecute post mortem, or after the statute of limitations has expired.

    That is consistent with the election cases. The election is over, so moot. Almost like saying that if you can get out of the car fast enough, you aren’t guilty of speeding, it isn’t breaking and entering if you are outside when the police arrive, …

      Milhouse in reply to MajorWood. | March 9, 2021 at 11:30 am

      Another idiot heard from. One would think you’d never heard of the mootness doctrine, and imagine the SCOTUS just made it up, or that it’s even slightly controversial.

      A case is moot when there is no relief the court can give. And when it is moot the court has no authority to continue hearing it. (There is an exception for cases easily capable of being repeated, and which by their nature will never otherwise be hearable, which is why the decision not to hear the PA case was not unanimous.) And that is why a criminal case brought after the crime is committed is not moot. Indeed that is the only time it is not moot.

        Barry in reply to Milhouse. | March 9, 2021 at 1:23 pm

        You are full of doo-doo.

        The supreme court bears no resemblance to a court practicing law under the constitution of the United States.

        There is certainly a remedy to election theft. Choosing to call the claim moot is simply cover up of the theft.

          Milhouse in reply to Barry. | March 9, 2021 at 3:52 pm

          Barry, you are a real low-life. A nasty piece of work. You deserve whatever misfortune comes your way, and I hope it comes soon.

          Once the electoral college has voted and its votes have been counted, there is no remedy to a state’s electors having been improperly chosen.

          And there is certainly no remedy to a state’s laws for choosing electors having been misapplied, but in a way that didn’t affect the result, which is what happened with the late-arriving ballots in PA.

          lichau in reply to Barry. | March 10, 2021 at 7:55 am

          The SCOTUS is nine politicians in black robes. Appointed for life.

Richard Aubrey | March 9, 2021 at 9:05 am

Recovering: Still fifteen or twenty million estates might want to sue. But I doubt these guys had enough pension to satisfy the judgments.

    What I found interesting about this latest Roberts’ decision is that he was the lone dissent. Didn’t the Left assure us Roberts is a “consensus-building moderate”?

    Roberts took a lot of deserved heat for his wackadoodle Obamacare ruling. So now it seems his preferred escape hatch is “no standing to sue / case is moot / get these Deplorables out of MY court”.

    John Roberts, you are a judicial Tower of Jello!

      Supreme court judges vote to hear cases they feel have no merit and should be tossed out all the time. During the Obama years the supreme court gave a lot of 9-0 decisions where every judge voted to hear the case.

      We don’t know how any of the other 8 judges will rule on this. As Professor Jacobson has warned us many times the law isn’t always what we want it to be.

      I hope in this case the free speech side wins. Don’t attack Roberts for not thinking current law is compatible with that.

      There are two elections which will give us an opportunity to change the law coming right up (2022 and 2024) so if we lose in court it isn’t the end of the world.

If nominal damages can preserve a live controversy, then federal courts will be required to give advisory opinions whenever a plaintiff tacks on a request for a dollar.

Roberts seems to forget the difference between the standards for standing and for mootness, i.e. for initiating an action and for preserving it. Had the majority said that asking for a dollar is enough to establish standing then he would have a good point; that would allow people to seek advisory opinions, which we know is wrong, so an opinion allowing it must be wrong.

Asking for nominal damages is not enough to establish standing; but here that wasn’t a problem because when the action was initiated the plaintiffs were asking for an injunction, which Roberts agrees would have been effective relief had they got it in time, so they had standing. The problem is that since they’re no longer students, and the policy they’re suing over has changed, the injunctive relief is no longer available. So the question is not standing but whether the action has now become moot; and the majority say asking for a dollar is enough to satisfy that standard.

Blaise MacLean | March 9, 2021 at 12:12 pm

So Thomas, Kagan, Breyer, Alito, Barrett, Sotomayor and Gorsuch were all together on this and Roberts was against? (Kavanaugh’s separate opinion is short and unhelpful). Very strange.

Weird. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is a professional cabal of anti-religious bigots in Madison, Wisconsin. They set up a P.O. box in states to establish ‘residency,’ then cry bully every lil poh-dunk town, school, sheriff, etc. across the nation with FFRF’s butthurt about any and every tiny religious symbol displayed because FFRF has incurred ‘real and deleterious suffering and damage up here in Wisconsin because Alabama school athletes said a prayer. OMFG!

And when the poh-dunks do not capitulate, the courts side EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. with FFRF – because ‘standing.’

P.O. box. Standing. Eff ewe.

When Baal worshipers want to legally blood sacrifice their unborn, the leftist scream, “The court has ruled! Law of the Land! The court has ruled!” And then the issue is moot for ever more. Or when the sodomites want to officially sodomite, the leftist scream, “The court has ruled! Law of the Land! The court has ruled!” And then the issue is moot for ever more.

Yet, these student involved first amendment issues persistently, frequently, repeatedly appear before the courts, and OMFG! – we must deeply, deliberately mull over each and every nuance at a granular level in order to determine the merit and strict outcome about whether or not the Constitution plain language actually means ‘the free exercise thereof’ and exactly, precisely what the definition of ‘or’ truly is, blah, blah, blah – then DO. IT. AGAIN. NEXT. YEAR.

Eff ewe. Our fore fathers would be shooting by now.

    Not true. Once an issue has been decided it’s decided and courts will not revisit it. These atheist supremacists work hard to keep coming up with new arguments that have not yet been addressed, or cases that can be distinguished from all the previous cases that were already decided.

    And they often fail precisely because of standing. They have to find a plaintiff who can claim to be directly injured by the alleged establishment violation. Simply being upset that the establishment clause has been violated is not enough.

    There is Flast v Cohen which gives taxpayers standing in establishment cases that involve spending current taxpayers’ money, which is not enough in any other kind of case; but in Valley Forge v Americans United the supreme court refused to extend that to cases that don’t cost the current taxpayer anything, even if they involve property that was bought with money taken from previous years’ taxpayers.

John “Epstein’ Roberts’ dissent was lame – even for him.

So now Roberts is to the left of Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor. Great.

W’s boy, Chief Comrade, is not happy with free speech or some other junk in that old constitution.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to NotKennedy. | March 9, 2021 at 3:48 pm

    It just goes to show. The Republicans could sure pick them.

    Milhouse in reply to NotKennedy. | March 9, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    It has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It’s entirely about what makes a case moot, and nothing else. If the case was moot it would be dismissed unanimously, no matter how important the topic.

Oregon Mike | March 9, 2021 at 2:31 pm

When Roberts is in the minority, Clarence Thomas as the most senior associate justice becomes the chief justice de facto.

This is a good thing.

    Danny in reply to Oregon Mike. | March 9, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    If you have a time machine let me use it, if not you have no idea how Thomas or any of the other justices will vote in this case.

    I hope they vote for my preferred outcome which is the side of free speech against the University, I don’t know what the actual law is right now and don’t know who has the better case.

    That said the law isn’t always what you want it to be.

The Supreme Court is an embarrassment and no longer a credible entity.

RightStuff1944 | March 10, 2021 at 9:34 am

Roberts is a shell-shocked Supreme Court justice. He got it when Barack Obama called him out at that State of the Union speech. He has been linguini ever since.

Robert’s is on borrowed time. I’m thinking that whatever it is that some unknown person or persons have on Roberts will come to light. He can’t be gone soon enough for me.

If your Civil Rights are violated in any other context does the case become moot, just because the passage of time? If the perpetrators go unpunished, then it can’t be moot!

Roberts has just been a complete disappointment–from his ruling on the Obamacare issue, and his siding with the lockstep liberals, to this, I don’t know how we could do worse with another liberal–there doesn’t seem to be much difference.

Roberts had a point, one that I disagree with though. At least it was reasoned but if companies, colleges, state governments etc can trample on our rights and only backtrack when it gets to SCOTUS then what rights do the average American have? Enough of the “no standing” nonsense. We saw how that went in PA. Threw out because “no standing” as the swearing in of Dictator Biden hadn’t happened yet then the subsequent suit thrown because it was moot.
Have some Backbone SCOTUS and stand up for The Constitution

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