In what may qualify as the year’s prime example of judicial charlatanism, U.S. District Senior Judge Marvin Shoob dismissed the case of Rachel Boim, the 14-year old honors student who was suspended from school three years ago for writing a fictional story about a student shooting a math teacher. Shoob’s reasoning – freedom of expression is one thing, but what if someone actually read something offensive!
While there is no evidence that Rachel ever directly showed the story to anyone else, it is undisputed that she brought the notebook containing the story to school and that she passed the notebook to another student before it was confiscated by a teacher…
Of course, in Shoob’s mind, the Founders didn’t intend that the works of the free press would ever actually be read by anyone or that all those citizens practicing freedom of speech might actually listen to each other.
Shoob sympathized with the school officials, who found the whole idea of anyone attacking an authority figure like a math teacher “disturbing.” No doubt King George was similary isturbed to read that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of [Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happinesss], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…” Apparently the Divine Right of Kings is a dead doctrine, but it’s sacrilege to question the Divine Right of Public School Teachers.
Fortunately for Rachel, she’s now freely pursuing her happiness at a non-government school and, despite her families fears, I doubt she’ll have much trouble getting accepted to pursue her happiness at the college of her choice either. I wonder if she knows about WordPress.com….