The Bristol Blog features news and information about Bristol, Connecticut.
May 26, 2009
Sotomayor played key role in Avery Doninger case
President Barack Obama's nominee to fill a Supreme Court vacancy was one of a trio of appeals judges who last year gunned down the First Amendment claim of a Burlington student penalized by school administrators for calling school administrators "douche bags" on a blog.
In the May 29, 2008 decision, Judge Sonia Sotomayor joined in a ruling that upheld a trial court ruling to deny an injunction sought by Avery Doninger of Lewis Mills High School to prevent administrators from barring her election as senior class secretary to punish her for posting on a blog outside of school. The judges said her words were potentially disruptive and vulgar.
"We have determined, however, that a student may be disciplined for expressive conduct, even conduct occurring off school grounds, when this conduct “would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment,” at least when it was similarly foreseeable that the off- campus expression might also reach campus," the decision said..
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, this week said the ruling "cut deeply into student rights."
Andy Thibault, whose Cool Justice Report has dogged the case from the start, said that Sotomayor "was clubbed clubbed on the head with a crystal-clear free speech violation and she said, in effect, 'That's nice, I'll sign off on it.'"
"When a citizen seeks a redress of a grievance and is punished for lobbying the community, that's OK with Sotomayor," he said.
"Nevermind the fabrication of disruption or potential disruption long after the fact by the douche bag school bosses: Sotomayor flunks due diligence, a reading of her own Second Circuit on the standard of offensiveness and most importantly, her duty to uphold the Bill of Rights. Any punishment by a government official in response to protected speech is a violation of the First Amendment," Thibault said in an emailed response to a question from The Bristol Press.
Check out Avery Doninger's own interesting account here.