Laxton Law congratulates A&M for their well-deserved football victory over No. 1 ranked Alabama! Way to go, Aggies!
Yesterday, the Arkansas Supreme Court rejected attacks on the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act. On November 6, Arkansas citizens will vote by ballot whether the Act will become law. The Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values requested that the Arkansas Supreme Court order the Act be removed from the ballot.
The Court’s opinion is at http://opinions.aoc.arkansas.gov/WebLink8/0/doc/308745/Electronic.aspx.
The Court ruled that the Coalition failed to prove that the Act clearly conflicts with the Arkansas Constitution or U.S. Constitution. If it passes, the Act would make the medical use of marijuana legal under Arkansas law but acknowledges that marijuana use, possession, and distribution for any purpose remains illegal under federal law.
If Arkansas passes the law, it will be the first Southern state to legalize marijuana use for medicinal purposes.
A Federal District Court has held that school officials who required a 12-year old student to provide access to her Facebook and email accounts violated her First and Fourth Amendment rights. The student had written on her Facebook wall that she disliked a school employee and then later posted a related message. The Facebook wall postings were:
- written while the student was at home;
- written outside of school hours;
- accessible only by the student’s Facebook “friends;” and
- not accessible by school computers.
When school officials learned about the messages, they compelled the student to provide access to her Facebook and email accounts. Then, in the presence of the 12-year old student, the school officials searched and commented on her public and private postings and messages, including commenting on sex quizzes taken by the student.
In concluding that the school officials violated the student’s First and Fourth Amendment rights, the court noted that the U.S. courts have long recognized that students do not check their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse door. The Court explained:
“The law on out-of-school statements by students can thus be summarized as follows: Such statements are protected under the First Amendment and not punishable by school authorities unless they are true threats or are reasonably calculated to reach the school environment and are so egregious as to pose a serious safety risk or other substantial disruption in that environment. [The student’s] Facebook wall postings were not true threats or threats of any kind. While her statements may have been reasonably calculated to reach a school audience, that possible fact is not sufficient to justify her punishment. The school defendants must also show that the statements posed a substantial disruptive effect.”
* * *
“[A] reasonable reader could not consider [the student’s] statements likely to cause a substantial disruption to the school environment. [The student] stated that she ‘hated’ a particular adult school employee because that employee was mean to her, and she then expressed salty curiosity about who had ‘told on her.’ Such statements were not likely to cause a substantial disruption to the school environment.”
This month, NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on large soda sizes in certain businesses went into effect. According to Bloomberg, the Founding Fathers did not fight for extra large drinks. http://www.philly.com/philly/news/ politics/politico/ RSS_POLITICO20120601 _Bloomberg__Large_soda_not_a_right.html. What Bloomberg fails to understand is that the Founding Fathers fought for freedom, including individual freedom. The ban restricts citizen’s freedom to choose their soda size.
However, the U.S. Constitution grants states extensive, perhaps too extensive, power to regulate public health and safety. Although some have questioned whether the ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause, that Clause probably does not provide a basis for invalidating the ban. The Commerce Clause prohibits undue burdens on interstate commerce, and the courts would probably conclude that the ban neither affects nor is an undue burden on commerce between states.
But even if New York City has the legal authority to tell its citizens what size sodas they can buy, the decision to do so offends a key principle of this country—the right of freedom, including individual freedom. As Thomas Jefferson stated:
“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others.”
“If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”