Category Archives: Constitution

U.S. 9th Circuit Court rules high school can ban students from wearing American flag T-shirt

More than 4 years ago on May 5, 2010, Cinqo de Mayo, four students at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, California — a school with a predominant Mexican-American student body — were ordered by the vice principal Miguel Rodriguez to turn their American flag T-shirts inside out.

From left, Daniel Galli, Austin Carvalho, Matt Dariano and Dominic Maciel were sent home from school because they were wearing American flag t-shirts on Cinco de Mayo.

One of the boys, Daniel Galli, said they were told they could wear the flag T-shirt any other day “but today is sensitive to Mexican-Americans because it’s supposed to be their holiday so we were not allowed to wear it today” because their T-shirts were “incendiary” and could lead to fights on campus.

The boys said their T-shirts were an expression of their American pride. When they refused to turn their T-shirts inside out, they were ordered to go to the principal’s office and threatened with suspension. So the boys went home to avoid suspension.

The boys and their families met with a Morgan Hill Unified School District official. The district released a statement that “The district does not concur with the Live Oak High School administration’s interpretation of either board or district policy related to these actions.”

The boys were not suspended and were allowed to return to school, one of them wearing an American flag T-shirt. (Read more about this here.)

Fast forward four years.

Eric Owens reports for The Daily Caller that on Sept. 17, 2014, Constitution Day, the notoriously liberal U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order declining a request for an en banc (full court) hearing in a case involving the four Live Oak High School who were sent home for wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo.

In so doing, the Ninth Circuit judges signaled their agreement with a lower district court and with a trio of appellate judges that officials at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Calif. could censor students who wanted to wear flag-emblazoned shirts.

“[N]o further petitions shall be permitted,” the court ordered.

In the three-judge ruling, the Ninth Circuit held that school officials have wide latitude to limit freedom of expression: “Our role is not to second-guess the decision to have a Cinco de Mayo celebration or the precautions put in place to avoid violence. Here, both the specific events of May 5, 2010, and the pattern of which those events were a part made it reasonable for school officials to proceed as though the threat of a potentially violent disturbance was real.”

Consequently, the court proclaimed, vice principal Rodriguez acted constitutionally when he told students to turn their American flag shirts inside-out or hit the road with an excused absence because he was trying to prevent potential violence.

An online version of the opinion, Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified School Dist., is available here.

The practice of limiting one group’s free speech rights because that speech might cause another group to react violently is known as a “heckler’s veto.” It is understood by free speech advocates to have a chilling effect on First Amendment rights.

liberty gagged

~Eowyn

Seven-year-old punished at school for bringing in souvenir shell casing

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Fox4KC: Sherry Falke  said her seven-year-old son came home from school Tuesday crying hysterically. She thinks the school went overboard with a punishment her son received at s bringing in a souvenir shell casing.

“He felt it in his pocket, and he took it out and was showing some of his friends at school,” Falke explained. She says her son Zane forgot he left the shell casing in his pocket, a souvenir he received at the 9/11 ceremony from the VFW in Carrollton, given to him and his Cub Scout group.

The principal proceeded to reprimand him as though he were bringing live ammunition to school. I understand that’s in the policy, in the handbook, that they can’t bring guns to school, I fully support that, but it’s an empty blank casing,” Falke added.

Zane’s teacher took the shell casing, and took him to the principal’s office. Falke says they told Zane he could be suspended from school for 10 days, but instead gave him a silent lunch where he sat by himself, and missed two recesses.

Dr. Feagan

Dr. Feagan

“In today’s society, unfortunately, we do have to be concerned with those types of things in schools,” said Dr. Roger Feagan, the superintendent of the Norborne R-VIII School District. He says while the shell casing is not a huge deal, the safety and security of students is their number one priority. (Because an empty shell is dangerous how?)

“Though this seems minor, if we don’t handle the minor things, they can unfortunately escalate into major things down the road,” added Dr. Feagan.

Falke said she called the school and explained the significance of the casing, and asked if they would reduce the punishment knowing now what it was.

“Had he brought a war medal to school, would he have been punished?” Falke asked. “They also passed out American flags to all the kids, if he brought that to school would he have been punished?”

The school said no, the punishment stands. “We didn’t want anything to lead to anything further with that student or think that was OK to bring to school,” said Dr. Feagan.

The school handbook specifically says weapons, firearms, knives, and the like, are not allowed. While the shell casing doesn’t exactly fall into that category, the school feels the punishment was appropriate, and a common consequence for minor offenses.

The school says it stands behind the punishment, and the superintendent adds that hopefully this is a learning experience for everyone. He says had the school been informed ahead of time about the souvenir, and where it came from, it could have been a great discussion topic in the classroom.

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See also:

DCG

Amerika: A nation of know-nothing potheads

sheeple

This past Wednesday, Sept. 17, was Constitution Day — the 227th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.

It’s a sad day for our Founding Fathers because after they had labored and sacrificed to establish a government of checks and balances and the rule of law, for the people, by the people, and of the people, only 36% or about one of every three Americans can name the three branches of government — executive, legislative, judicial — which the Constitution had created.

Reid Wilson reports for The Washington Post, Sept. 18, 2014, on more findings from the new survey from the Annenberg Public Policy Center:

  • Only 38% of Americans know the Republican Party controls the U.S. House of Representatives, while 17% think Democrats are still in charge. Worse still, fewer Americans –a drop of 17% — now know the GOP controls the House than back in 2011, right after Republicans had reclaimed control of the lower chamber.
  • An identical number, 38%, knows Democrats run the Senate, while 20% believe Republicans control the upper chamber.
  • Only 27% know it takes a two-thirds majority of the House and Senate to override a presidential veto.
  • 15% of Americans correctly identified the chief justice of the United States, John Roberts; but 27% know Randy Jackson was a judge on American Idol.
  • Only 13% know the Constitution was signed in 1787.

There are groups, like the Civics Education Initiative (CEI), which are are pushing to include more civics education in high schools by requiring students to pass the same citizenship test that immigrants do when they come to America. CEI will introduce legislation in seven states that would require passage of the citizenship test before graduating.

Meanwhile, Kate Rogers reports for CNBC, Sept. 18, 2014, that 1 in 10 Americans are showing up to work high on pot.

A new survey conducted by Mashable.com in partnership with SurveyMonkey found 9.7% of Americans fessed up to smoking marijuana before showing up to the office. Worse still, nearly 81% said they scored their cannabis illegally.

james Madison

Think you can do better than the 36% of Americans who can’t name the three branches of the U.S. government? Take the American Civics Literacy Quiz!

After you’ve taken the quiz, compare your score to our elected officials by going to “How Elected Officials Scored on American Civics Literacy.”

~Eowyn

California charter school removes Christian books from library

River Springs Charter School

Springs Charter Schools, aka River Springs Charter School, is a charter school in the city of Temecula, Riverside County, southern California.

On its “About Us: Vision & Mission” page, Springs Charter Schools describes itself as “created and is operated by parents” and that “We value Parent choice and involvement, Using the community as the classroom, Fostering a child’s innate creativity, Collaborating to achieve goals, Building relationships, and Personalizing learning.”

What the page leaves out is that Springs Charter Schools also values CENSORSHIP and ANTI-CHRISTIANITY.

Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), a conservative legal defense organization in California, is sounding the alert that Springs Charter Schools is violating the First Amendment by removing library books based on their perceived Christian content.

In an email, PJI states:

A parent of students enrolled at Springs Charter Schools was recently shocked to see some of the books being targeted for removal, including the well-known account of Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place.  The parent contacted PJI after library personnel explained to her that they had been directed to remove Christian books, books by Christian authors, and books from Christian publishers.

PJI attorney Michael Peffer sent the school a cease-and-desist letter on August 22, citing long-established Supreme Court precedent that strongly disapproves of school libraries removing books based on opposition to their content or message.   
 
Last week, the Superintendent of Springs Charter Schools, Dr. Kathleen Hermsmeyer, ignored the precedent in PJI’s letter and instead insisted, “We . . . do not allow sectarian materials on our state-authorized lending shelves.”
  
PJI President Brad Dacus commented, “It is alarming that a school library would attempt to purge books from religious authors.  Indeed, some of the greatest literature of Western Civilization comes from people of faith.  Are they going to ban the sermons or speeches of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?  What about the Declaration of Independence that invokes the laws of nature and nature’s God?  We are calling on Springs Charter Schools to immediately reverse their ill-conceived and illegal book-banning policy.”  
 
PJI responded to the school this week by sending a public records request and is prepared to take further legal action if the school continues to ignore its constitutional obligations.  

To contact the Pacific Justice Institute:

Brad Dacus (916) 857-6900

Scrolling through the Springs Charter Schools’ very long list of “Administration Contacts(Bloated Bureaucracy Alert!), I can’t find any contact info for its superintendent.

As if that could end my search. [smirk]

From the California Department of Education website:

Kathleen M. Hermsmeyer
Superintendent
Ph: (951) 252-8800 ext. 891
Email: kathleen.hermsmeyer@harborspringscharter.org

Kathleen Hermsmeyer, 47

Kathleen Hermsmeyer, 47

I also saw this on Springs Charter Schools’ very long list of “Administration Contacts“:

Enchanted Learning – Amber Zielinski (951) 252-8841

“Enchanted Learning”? I dread to ask what that is.

H/t FOTM’s MomofIV

~Eowyn

Obama administration forcing new gun buyers to declare race, ethnicity

obama gun gesture

Washington Times: The Obama administration quietly has been forcing new gun buyers to declare their race and ethnicity, a policy change that critics say provides little law enforcement value while creating the risk of privacy intrusions and racial profiling.

With little fanfare, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 2012 amended its Form 4473 — the transactional record the government requires gun purchasers and sellers to fill out when buying a firearm — to identify buyers as either Hispanic, Latino or not. Then a buyer must check his or her race: Indian, Asian, black, Pacific Islander or white.

The amendment is causing a headache for gun retailers, as each box needs to be checked off or else it’s an ATF violation — severe enough for the government to shut a business down. Many times people skip over the Hispanic/Latino box and only check their race, or vice versa — both of which are federal errors that can be held against the dealer.

Requiring the race and ethnic information of gun buyers is not required by federal law and provides little law enforcement value, legal experts say. And gun industry officials worry about how the information is being used and whether it constitutes an unnecessary intrusion on privacy.

“This issue concerns me deeply because, first, it’s offensive, and, secondly, there’s no need for it,” said Evan Nappen, a private practice firearms lawyer in New Jersey. “If there’s no need for an amendment, then there’s usually a political reason for the change. What this indicates is it was done for political reasons, not law enforcement reasons.”

ATF said the change came about because it needed to update its forms to comply with an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reporting standard put into effect during the Clinton administration. The ATF declined to comment on why race and ethnicity information are needed in the first place or what they are used for. On its prior 4473 forms, the bureau had been collecting race data.

OMB’s race and ethnicity standards require agencies to ask both race and ethnicity in a specific manner (as done on [Form 4473]), and agencies may not ask for one without asking for the other,” wrote Elizabeth Gosselin, a spokeswoman for the ATF, in an emailed response to The Washington Times. She did not say why the agency suddenly made the change in response to a rule that was more than a decade old.

For ATF to ask for a purchaser’s race and ethnicity is not specifically authorized under federal statute, and since a government-issued photo ID — like a driver’s license — and a background check are already required by law to purchase a gun, the ethnicity/race boxes aren’t there for identification reasons, Mr. Nappen said.

“There is nothing [in ATF or OMB’s website links addressing the change in policy] that supports the requirement that ATF collect race-based information. The OMB guidance merely describes what categories of race should look like if information is collected,” Laura Murphy, the American Civil Liberties Union director for legislative affairs in Washington, said in an emailed statement.

In addition, Mrs. Murphy notes, the OMB guidance was supposed to be implemented by 2003; there’s no information given why ATF decided to make this change almost a decade later, she said. “If there is a civil rights enforcement reason for the ATF to collect this data, I have not heard that explanation from ATF or any other federal agency,” said Mrs. Murphy.

Both the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza — the nation’s largest national Hispanic civil rights group — declined comment.

The 4473 form is supposed to be kept in a gun retailer’s possession at all times — allowing ATF agents to inspect the form only during the course of a criminal investigation or during a random audit of the dealer. The form is to be kept out of the hands of the government, hence the distinction between “sales/transaction form” and “registration form.” But that isn’t always the case, gun rights advocates say.

“We’ve been contacted by several dealers saying ATF is or has been making wholesale copies of their 4473 forms, and it’s just not legal,” said Erich Pratt, spokesman for Gun Owners of America, a gun advocacy group. “If this is what they’re doing somewhat out in the open, what’s going on behind closed doors? Are these names and demographic information getting phoned [in and] punched into a government computer? Do they ever come out?

During the time ATF revised its 4473 form to include Hispanic or Latino as an ethnicity, the Obama administration was building gun control cases by saying U.S. firearms dealers were supplying Mexican gangs with weapons and that violence related to the sales was seeping across the border.

Hillary

In March 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Mexico City and gave a speech against American gun stores and owners — blaming them for the drug cartels’ violence. Mrs. Clinton subsequently told CBS News that “90 percent” of the “guns that are used by the drug cartels against the police and military” actually “come from America.”

Eric Holder

About a week later, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. made the same points at a gun trafficking conference outside of Mexico City. In April, the president himself flew down to Mexico to inform President Felipe Calderon that Mr. Holder was going to review U.S. law enforcement operations, according to a 2011 report by the American Thinker.

This political worldview may have fueled decision-making at ATF, Mr. Nappen suggests. Around the same time that ATF started specifying “Latino/Hispanic” on their U.S. purchasing forms, they also required border firearms dealers in Texas, Arizona, California and New Mexico to start reporting multiple rifle sales.

In 2012, when ATF made the Form 4473 modification, they insisted their new reporting requirement for multiple rifle sales in those border states had led to “follow-up investigations involving transactions that might indicate firearms trafficking activities.”

“Was it coincidental [that] about the time the form changed the requirements came in that border states had to report multiple rifle sales, and there was a push in the antigun movement to claim American guns were arming Mexican cartels south of the border?” asked Mr. Nappen.

Although gun advocates speculate on the reasoning behind changing the form, on one thing they are clear: Requiring ethnicity and race to purchase a gun is a clear government overstep, violating Second Amendment rights.

second amendment3

“It’s an overreach, not authorized by Congress, taken upon [by ATF] unilaterally,” said Mr. Pratt. “The president has said his biggest frustration has been not getting gun control enacted — but we can see he’s been very active with his phone and his pen. And this certainly — either intentionally or unintentionally — feeds that notion.”

DCG

Commuters attacked with machete in gun-control Chicago

Obama’s hometown Chicago is a gun-control city. But that hasn’t stopped Chicagoans from gun violence, as our DCG reports every Monday on the shootings that took place the weekend before. (See “A good weekend in Chicago? Less than a dozen shot“)

Not only does gun control fail to stop or even reduce gun violence and homicides, Chicago’s criminals are now wielding the primitive but lethal machete.

Gator-Machete

Meg Wagner reports for New York Daily News that on Sept. 8, 2014, seven Chicago hoodlums, including three 15-year-olds, slashed a commuter on a train platform with a machete, which left the victim with serious cuts to his neck and head.

Around 12:30 a.m., the seven hoodlums — ranging in age from 23 to 15 — approached two brothers, 17 and 26 years old, sitting on a bench on a Brown Line train platform in Albany Park, Chicago’s WLS reported.

machete1

They asked the victims to flash them gang signs, a request the two refused because they were not in a gang, they said.

That’s when 18-year-old Mario Elvira pulled out a machete.

The teen hacked into the 26-year-old’s head and neck, police said. Platform security video showed the rest of the group surrounding the victims as Elvira slashed.

machete2

He kept swinging until the next train pulled into the station, sending the seven scurrying.

The 26-year-old was taken to a local hospital in stable condition with a deep gash to the head, which required 30 stitches. The 17-year-old was not injured.

Police caught the group shortly after the attack.

Elvira, 23-year-old Jean Salvatierra, 19-year-old Kevin Ramierz and 20-year-old Kevar Preston were charged with robbery, aggravated battery and trespassing.

machete3

One of the 15-year-old boys was charged with aggravated assault and trespassing. The two others, a boy and a girl, face only trespassing charges. Police have not released the juveniles’ names.

The four adults are being held on bails between $250,000 and $450,000.

Welcome to Amerika! – rapidly devolving before our very eyes into a third world country.

H/t FOTM reader Amy

~Eowyn

A good weekend in Chicago? Less than a dozen shot

rahm_emanuel_2

CBS Chicago: A 17-year-old boy was killed and 10 other people were wounded — including two people on the Kennedy and Dan Ryan expressways — in shootings across the city since Friday night.

The teenage boy was fatally shot in the head Saturday afternoon in the South Side Bronzeville neighborhood. He was shot shortly before 3 p.m. in the 3900 block of South Prairie, police said. The boy was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:44 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. His name was not released Saturday evening pending notification of his family.

Police said the shooting is gang-related, and that the boy was a documented gang member.

The most recent nonfatal shooting occurred early Sunday on the Dan Ryan Expressway on the South Side. A man, whose age was not immediately known, was in a vehicle travelling southbound on Interstate 90/94 when he was shot near the 79th Street exit, Illinois State Police said. That person was taken to Christ Medical Center, but further information was not available.

Just two hours earlier, at 1 a.m., a male was shot on the Kennedy Expressway on the West Side. The male — whose age was not immediately known — was in a red Ford Mustang that was heading northbound on I-90 when he was shot near the Fullerton exit ramp, police said. That person was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, police said, but his condition was not available.

About 2:10 a.m., a 30-year-old man was shot in the West Garfield Park neighborhood. The man was shot in the leg and ankle in the 4100 block of West Adams, police said. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital where his condition had stabilized, police said.

On Saturday night, a 17-year-old boy and a man, 20, were shot in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on the West Side. The boy and man were both shot in the leg about 7:45 p.m. in the 1700 block of North Kimball, police said. They were taken to Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, where both of their conditions had stabilized.

Two hours earlier, a man was shot and seriously wounded in the South Side Calumet Heights neighborhood. The 18-year-old man was shot “multiple” times at 5:45 p.m. in the leg in the 9200 block of South Clyde, police said. He was taken in serious condition to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

Earlier Saturday afternoon, a man delivering fried chicken in the Washington Park neighborhood was shot during an attempted robbery on the South Side. The delivery man, 39, got out of his car to deliver chicken to a customer about 12:40 p.m. near South Prairie and East 57th, when a male approached, pulled out a gun and announced a robbery, police said. The would-be robber started shooting, striking the delivery man in the abdomen, police said. He then ran off without stealing anything.

The delivery man then went back to his place of employment, from where he was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center, police said. He was transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital, where his condition had stabilized.

About 1:30 a.m. Saturday, two people were hurt in a shooting in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood on the South Side. A 23-year-old woman and a 42-year-old man were inside an establishment in the 1700 block of West 87th Street when someone outside opened fire, police said. A bullet grazed the woman’s leg and she refused medical treatment at the scene. The man showed up at Christ Medical Center with a graze wound to the head, and he was listed in good condition, police said.

The weekend’s first shooting happened about 11:10 p.m. Friday in the West Side Austin neighborhood. A 27-year-old man was standing outside in the 1700 block of North Mason when an unknown male walked up and opened fire, striking him in the arm and leg, police said. He was listed in good condition at West Suburban Hospital.

Additionally, police shot and critically wounded a man after he allegedly struck an officer with a car Saturday night on the West Side. Undercover officers driving an unmarked squad car stopped the suspect — a man thought to be in his 20s — about 10:15 p.m. in the 2300 block of West Lake as part of a narcotics investigation, police and Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden said.

After the stop, two officers exited their car, but the suspect accelerated and struck the police vehicle, according to a statement from Chicago Police. As a result, one officer was knocked to the ground, police said. The suspect then tried to flee — and almost ran over the fallen officer in the process — but was shot multiple times by police, according to police and Camden.

The male officer was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where his condition had stabilized, officials said. Police said the officer’s injuries were not life-threatening. The man shot by police was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds to his upper body, officials said.

The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the shooting, spokesman Larry Merritt said.

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See also:

 

DCG