Recent Decisions-SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

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Review Denied

Decisions without published opinions in the lower court:

DOCKET NO.: 04-1683

NAME: Veazey v. Ascension Parish School Board

DATE: Oct. 3, 2005

CITATION: cert. denied, 126 S.Ct. 138 (2005)

Decisions with published opinions in the lower court:

DOCKET NO.: 04-1207

NAME: Bannon v. Palm Beach County School District

DATE: Oct 3, 2005

CITATION: 126 S.Ct. 330 (2005)

Public school student claimed that her First Amendment rights had been violated when the school's principal required her to remove religious words and symbols from a mural she had painted as part of a school beautification project. The student's paintings caused a disruption in the school and the school required the student to paint over some of the overtly religious parts of the painting. The school also required other students to paint over parts of their murals which contained profanity, gang symbols and satanic images. The student sued but the district court granted summary judgment for the school district finding that the school beautification project had not created a public forum, but instead the project fell squarely in the category of school sponsored speech. Held: Court of appeals found that the student's First Amendment rights had not been violated. The court applied the rule from Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988), where the Supreme Court wrote that when dealing with school sponsored student expression a school district may apply content-based censorship if it is reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns. In this case the court found that the school had a legitimate pedagogical concern in avoiding the disruption to the school's learning environment caused by the religious murals. Bannon v. Palm Beach County School District, 387 F.3d 1208 (11th Cir. 2004), cert. denied, 126 S.Ct. 330 (2005)

DOCKET NO.: 04-1408

NAME: Smith v. University of Washington Law School

DATE: Oct. 3, 2005

CITATION: 126 S.Ct. 334 (2005)

Applicants to a state law school sued after being denied admission claiming that the school's consideration of race and ethnicity in the admissions process was unconstitutional. The students claimed that the school's use of ethnicity substantiation letters, the giving of a slight plus to Asian Americans, and the referral of qualified white applicants to the admissions committee while granting others automatic administrative admission were unconstitutional practices. Held: Court of appeals found that the law school's admissions process fit the constitutional requirements that the Supreme Court had set out in Grutter and Bakke. The court ruled that the law school's admission process was handled in good faith, did not establish quotas, or target goals for admission or enrollment of minorities. A close look at the admissions process revealed that each applicant received a highly individualized holistic review giving serious consideration to all the ways an applicant might contribute to a diverse educational environment. The court found that all of these elements pointed to the law school's admissions program being narrowly tailored to further its compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body. Smith v. University of Washington Law School, 392 F.3d 367 (9th Cir. 2004), cert. denied, 126 S.Ct. 334 (2005)

DOCKET NO.: 04-1629

NAME: St. Anne Community Unit High School District No. 302 v. Norman K.

DATE: Oct. 3, 2005

CITATION: 126 S.Ct. 354 (2005)

Parents of disabled child claimed that the "stay put" provision of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) required the student's new school district to pay for the student's private placement. The disabled student had previously been placed in a private school. This placement was based on a settlement on an individualized education program (IEP) with the student's former school district. …