Need content for your website or zine? Well feel FREE to include funny comments about your intolerant teachers and local politicians. A recent court case in Colorado has strengthened your First Amendment right to mock people who try to control your life.
The judge in the case dismissed three felony charges of criminal libel against a student in Colorado who was accused of of publishing a lewd, underground newspaper. The paper stated that his teachers were illegal drug dealers, school officials were members of the Ku Klux Klan, the female principal was a cross-dresser and had an affair with Princess Diana, and that school tap water contained urine.
The judge was appalled by the comments but he based his decision on the First Amendment rather than his emotions.
“There is absolute First Amendment protection for statements that cannot reasonably be interpreted as making factual assertions. Statements which are assertions of opinions, parodies, satire (and) hyperbole … are protected pursuant to the First Amendment,” Hiatt wrote.
Hiatt added, “The court has considerable distaste for the publications attributed to the juvenile.” “However, more important than these concerns is the principle that the law applies equally to all, appealing or repugnant. The First Amendment is not limited to merely that which is accepted and popular.”
The judge was not only aware of the general principle of the First Amendment, he also emphasized that the amendment applies, “equally to all.” The First Amendment is not based on someone’s age, it is a right that all U.S. citizens can enjoy.
In his ruling for the student, the judge based his decision partly on the Larry Flynt libel case which was made famous by the movie, “The People vs. Larry Flynt.” In the case, Jerry Falwell, a well-known preacher, sued Larry Flynt for publishing a satirical ad that mocked Falwell. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that comments that are obviously satirical and false are protected by the First Amendment.
This case proves the power of lawsuits. When one person, like Larry Flynt wins, you and every other American, benefits from the verdict. Because of Larry Flynt, the student in Colorado had the right to publish his lewd underground newspaper. The student’s win has also strengthened your right to mock your teachers because now their are two court cases that future judges can use a reference.
Another recent lawsuit about a student who created a lewd website was recently settled before it went to trial. The student received a $30,000 settlement after he sued his school for violating his First Amendment rights by suspending him for his written comments.
The website case is not as significant as the Colorado student’s victory because it did not go to trial and therefore the verdict cannot be used in future cases. Nonetheless, you can still refer to this case if your school threatens to suspend you for your website, zine, or underground newspaper.
This student is a Libertarian Rockstar because he fought back against government intolerance. If your government teachers stop you from printing or saying gross statements, be a Rockstar and sue them for violating your First Amendment rights.