This is a case that has been ongoing since Fall 2004. In 2004, Harper wore a T-shirt to school which said “Be Ashamed, Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned” on the front and “Homosexuality Is Shameful” on the back, to protest the school’s “Day of Silence”, a day in which students take a vow of silence to make a statement about tolerance of gays and lesbians.
The school principal told Harper he couldn’t wear the shirt to school. Harper claimed the school’s policy violated his rights to freedom of speech and religion, and the case was picked up by the conservative legal organization Alliance Defense Fund and has been climbing up through the court system ever since.
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to suspend the dress code of the school which Harper had challenged:
“In an 8-1 ruling, the Supreme Court agreed with a federal judge that Harper lost his ability to challenge the policy when he graduated last year. Last year, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the policy to remain in effect pending the outcome of the lawsuit and sharply criticized the student’s challenge. The appellate judges said the T-shirt was ‘injurious to gay and lesbian students’ and ‘collides with the rights of other students in the most fundamental way.’ The Supreme Court ruling Monday also set aside the appellate ruling. Justice Stephen Breyer dissented.”
The case may not be completely closed however. U.S. District Judge John Houston is still considering the matter on behalf of Harper’s younger sister, Kelsie, who is still enrolled at the school. And the Supreme Court’s setting aside of the appellate ruling suggests they don’t necessarily agree with the philosophy behind it.
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