About this Case
A middle school student sued the school district, principal, and others alleging his First Amendment free speech rights were violated by a school regulation preventing him from handing out leaflets (containing abortion statistics) in school hallways between classes. The U.S. District Court found the regulation to be unconstitutional. The school district appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.
Summary of NLF's Brief
Our brief argued that the District Court’s decision should be affirmed, because it would not lead to confusing and complex legal rules, and it comported with controlling Supreme Court precedent. Furthermore, other courts’ contrary decisions in similar situations had applied forum analysis to student free speech in way that ignored the plain language of Tinker (a case involving students protesting the military conflict in Vietnam by wearing black armbands), in which the Supreme Court held that students’ expressive rights could not be restricted by the school unless the expression “materially and substantially interfer[es] with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.” Further, some of the cases cited by Appellants are not on-point because they do not address literature distribution.