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Public school students should have a “right to be free from … psychological attacks that cause young people to question their self-worth and their rightful place in society,” wrote the court in the case of Harper v. Poway United School District. “Those who administer our public educational institutions,” the opinion stated, “need not tolerate verbal assaults that may destroy the self-esteem of our most vulnerable teenagers and interfere with their educational development.”
While the court’s opinion may, on first impression, sound eloquent and convincing, the absurdity of their decision is yet another milestone marking the liberal social agenda of the judges of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California, considered by many to be the most radical and controversial in our legal history. But to understand just how ridiculous the Poway decision really is, a quick review of the facts is required.
In 2004, the administration and faculty of Poway High School in San Diego, Calif., decided to set aside an entire day to celebrate “tolerance” toward homosexuality. Students were not only required to engage in positive classroom discussions about homosexuality, but were also encouraged to wear pro-homosexual T-shirts and to place duct tape over their mouths to symbolize the “silencing effect of intolerance upon gays and lesbians.” One young man refused to accept such immoral indoctrination, however, and chose instead to wear a T-shirt which read: “I WILL NOT ACCEPT WHAT GOD HAS CONDEMNED” on the front and “HOMOSEXUALITY IS SHAMEFUL, Romans 1:27” on the back.
When Chase Harper was told to remove his shirt, he refused and was placed alone in a school conference room for the rest of the day. Harper’s parents sued the school for violating their son’s First Amendment right to free speech and eventually the case was heard by the 9th Circuit. The court arbitrarily decided that school students who profess homosexuality have a right to be free from “psychological attacks” because the students hold a rightful place in our society. It then declared that school officials need “not tolerate” anything which would destroy the “self-esteem” of our most “vulnerable teenagers.” Obviously, the liberal judges on the court cared little for traditional rights of free speech or the “vulnerab[ility]” and “self-esteem” of young men and women who believe that teaching acceptance of homosexuality is “psychological[ly]” dangerous.
The United States Supreme Court properly vacated their opinion, which is nothing new for the high court, as it has reversed all eight of the other 9th Circuit cases that have come before it this term, an appalling reversal record for any circuit court of appeals. Since 1978, no other circuit court of appeals has had more decisions overturned. In the 1995-96 term of the Supreme Court, 27 of 28 cases from the 9th Circuit were reversed, and in the 2003-04 term, 19 of 25 cases were reversed, most by unanimous decision of all nine justices of the Supreme Court.
The liberal agenda of the 9th Circuit is seen in its invention of a constitutional right to assisted suicide and its approval of the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, even though such use is specifically prohibited by federal law. The 9th Circuit also allowed one public school to teach Islam to elementary students in an effort to promote “diversity,” but in another case, it said that students in a public school could not recite the Pledge of Allegiance because the words “under God” were deemed unconstitutional.
But repeated reversals do not seem to daunt the 9th Circuit. “[R]eversal is almost a badge of honor to some judges in the 9th,” according to one former law clerk in the circuit. The clerk explained, “The operating assumption is that all but a fraction of its cases will not be corrected by the Supreme Court, … [s]o you have judges that are flagrantly ignoring Supreme Court precedent because the high court just doesn’t have the time to review all the cases.” In other words, the judges of the 9th Circuit have a liberal agenda they intend to impose one way or another. Their decisions not only contradict accepted constitutional jurisprudence and pronouncements of the United States Supreme Court, but also disregard traditional social values and fundamental moral principles of our society. Ignoring the true “rule of law,” the judges of the 9th Circuit relish being called “free-thinkers” and “independent-minded” by columnists and law professors alike. The 9th Circuit’s staff has even helped put together an exhibit honoring the court’s “forward thinking” that toured courthouses throughout the circuit a couple of years ago.
The solution to the problem is simple. Rather than burden our high court with wrong decisions by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Congress has the authority to abolish that court altogether and create a new court in its place or divide the circuit into two smaller circuits, thus reducing the reach of its radical decisions. In the alternative, Congress can impeach a few judges for their irresponsibility, holding them accountable for their wayward rulings. Our respect for law and reverence for the Constitution demand that we no longer tolerate the behavior of the judges of the 9th Circuit!
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