Wednesday, October 17, 2012

S.J.W. ex rel. Wilson v. Lee’s Summit R-7 School District[1]

Opinion handed down October 17, 2012

On January 11, 2012, the Lee's Summit R-7 School District ("the School District") suspended twin brothers Steven and Sean Wilson ("the Wilsons”) for 180 days because of inappropriate content posted on a website the Wilsons created.[2]  The Wilsons sued the School District alleging the School District violated their rights to free speech.  The Wilsons also filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction to lift their suspensions.[3]  The District Court granted the injunction, effectively allowing the Wilsons to return to school, but the School District appealed.[4]  A three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit overturned the District Court’s preliminary injunction.[5]  The brothers had not met two of the four elements of their claim, and the panel held that they likely would not be successful on the merits.[6]  The speech was punishable under the famous Tinker analysis and the harm was purely speculative.[7]

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Phelps-Roper v. City of Manchester, Mo.[1]

Opinion handed down October 16, 2012
The city of Manchester, Missouri, implemented an ordinance that banned protesters from being within 300 feet of a burial site, one hour prior to, during, or after a funeral. Two members of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church brought suit against the City of Manchester claiming that the ordinance violated the First Amendment and was unconstitutional. The Eighth Circuit en banc held that the Phelps-Ropers failed to prove that the ordinance was unconstitutional and reversed the district court’s judgment, vacating the injunction and award of nominal damages.