About this Case
A high school student sued his school district, claiming violation of his right to free speech over the district’s refusal to let him wear a t-shirt bearing the slogan “Be Happy, Not Gay.” The District Court denied the student’s motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that the school had a “legitimate pedagogical interest” in promoting “policies of tolerance toward and respect for differences among students.” That interest permitted the school to “restrict speech that expresses an opposing view in a manner that is negative toward a group of students.” The student appealed the District Court’s opinion to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
Summary of NLF's Brief
Our brief argued that application of the substantial disruption rationale would be a disguise for the Heckler’s Veto, because there simply was no disruption attributable to Nuxoll’s speech. The District Court erred on several points: it impermissibly allowed a Heckler’s Veto to be used to foreclose Freedom of Speech; it allowed the school to dilute the plaintiff’s message by crossing out “Not Gay” on his t-shirt; and it allowed the school to compel plaintiff’s speech by refusing to allow him to express any message critical of homosexuality.