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Supreme Court set to hear 'Bong Hits' case

March 4, 2007 at 6:27 PM   |   Comments

JUNEAU, Alaska, March 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court is set this month to hear the highly publicized "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case that began five years ago in Alaska.

The justices are scheduled to hear argument in the case on March 19, when former Juneau-Douglas High School Joe Frederick will again be given a chance to argue for his right to free speech, the Anchorage Daily News said.

The newspaper said as a senior Frederick was kicked off campus while waiting for his girlfriend, and protested later by turning his back during the Pledge of Allegiance.

His father allegedly was called to the school to discuss a possible suspension -- the school claims it has no record of such a meeting -- and Frederick reacted with a fictional "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" campaign. When Frederick and his friends unfurled a large banner with the phrase outside the school, the principal crossed the street and crumpled the banner, the paper said. Frederick was suspended for 10 days.

The case is Morse vs. Frederick -- also named for Juneau Principal Deborah Morse.

Now a 23-year-old, Frederick remains insistent that he was within his rights when he created the controversial campaign in 2002 as a means of opposition against local school authorities.

"I wanted to know more precisely the boundaries of my freedom," he told the paper. "I feel that if you don't use your rights you lose them."

The school is being represented for free by Ken Starr, the Clinton impeachment prosecutor.

Topics: Ken Starr
© 2007 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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