An organization fighting for individual rights says the Supreme Court's refusal to hear a case involving students' right to wear American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo is an ominous sign.
On Cinco de Mayo in 2010, three Oak Hill High School students in California were told by school officials they couldn't wear patriotic T-shirts because Hispanic students might be offended. John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute says the justices didn't even give a reason for their refusal to hear the case.
In Whitehead's opinion, today's Supreme Court isn't a civil libertarian court – which he views as indicative of a dangerous trend.
"As I'm looking at the court decisions across the country in the lower courts and the Supreme Court, pretty soon anything that might offend somebody – and you can put quotes around that word 'might' – is going to be taboo," he laments. "So free speech, as we've known it, I think is almost dead if this court continues the way it's going."
The attorney says this Supreme Court is the most statist court that he's seen in the 40 years that he has practiced law.
"They uphold any action by public schools [and] basically any action by the government," Whitehead opines. "So ... if you want civil liberties protections. you better get in the courts, you better fight – and the next time some of these judges come up for the Supreme Court, let's get a judge on there who understands the Constitution."
Rutherford filed the First Amendment lawsuit against the school district on behalf of the students and their parents (Dariano v. Morgan Hill).