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'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' Case Aftermath--the Legal Fees

The Juneau, Alaska, school board is pursuing some $5,000 in legal fees from the former high school student whose "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, the Juneau Empire is reporting.

The justices ruled 6-3 last year in Morse v. Frederick that the banner unfurled by Joseph Frederick at an Olympic torch relay outside his high school was not protected speech under the First Amendment. Five members of the court signed an opinion that said school officials have the right to regulate drug-related messages on school campuses.

I reported on the decision in Education Week here, and had interviewed Frederick for a preview story here.

The Juneau newspaper says in its report that Frederick may have to return from his job in China to attend a deposition on his personal finances in the ongoing battle over legal fees owed to the school district. Frederick's lawyer tells the paper that the school district's attorney is engaging in "revenge, retaliation, and harassment" of the former student, a charge the school district lawyer denies. (Thanks to the How Appealing law blog for the tip on this story.)

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