Is Eight Enough?

fingerpointingThe vacancy on the Supreme Court that materialized with the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia this past February, and endures into the current term that began last week, has Americans perplexed about the kind of Supreme Court we want to have. It also has us revisiting the kind of Supreme Court the U.S. Constitution requires us to have. These distinctly different contemplations, although both deserving of our attention, are all too often mistakenly confused as being the same concern.

Given the choice, I favor a nine-member Court. The downside of an even-numbered bench has been evident to most Americans as recently as the last term when important decisions about executive powers, immigration, and unions were left with 4-4 deadlocks for us to see the obvious benefit a ninth justice on the bench would have provided.

Yet just because I would rather have—and simple math would prefer—a fully-staffed Supreme Court doesn’t mean the Constitution requires it. Continue reading

What “Bong hits” taught us about “Boobies” and student speech

Last month, the Easton Area School District in Pennsylvania voted 7-1 in favor of filing a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court asking the Court to overturn the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in B.H. v. Easton Area School District.  What does this mean to you?  If the SCOTUS grants the writ, thereby agreeing to hear this case, and overturns the lower court’s decision, you – middle or high school students and/or parents – will not be able to walk the hallways with an arm full of “I ❤ Boobies” bracelets.  Not even one.

Two middle school girls – Kayla Martinez and Brianna Hawk – sued Easton School District for infringing upon their 1st Amendment rights after both were suspended for wearing the bracelets despite being told not to.  The girls claim they are raising awareness  about breast cancer by supporting the Keep a Breast foundation, the organization that sells the armbands.  The school district claims the language of the armband’s message is not appropriate for public middle school students to advertise.  We’re guessing the word “boobies” is the content they’re most uneasy with.

Somewhere there's a Taylor Swift song that matches this sentiment.  We just don't know what song that is...

Somewhere there’s a Taylor Swift song that matches this sentiment.

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