The Supreme Court Of The United States — страница 3

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dited by Langston Hughes; A Hero Ain’t Nothing but a Sandwich by Alice Childress ; Soul on Ice bye Eldridge Cleaver; A Reader for Writers, edited by Jerome Arche r; Go Ask Alice, author anonymous; Laughing Boy by Oliver LaFarge; and Black Boy by Richard Wright (Gold, 13) These books remained banned, and this issue ballooned in the amount of p ublicity over it. It got to the point where on January 4, 1977 five students ba cked by the NYCLU filed a lawsuit against the school board in New York State Sup reme Court. The five students that filed the suit against the school board were Steven A. Pico, the president of the senior class; Jacqueline Gold; Russell Rie ger; Glenn Yarris; as well as Paul Sochinski from the junior high school. Pico, Rieger, and Gold were on the staff of the

school newspaper, the Bulldog (Gold, 37). In their lawsuit, the students claimed the school board members removed the nine books because particular passages in the books “offended their social, political, and moral tastes.” (Zeinert, 67). They said this was not a lawful re ason for banning the books. The lawsuit went on to claim that the board had vio lated the students’ First Amendment rights. It asked the court to declare the b ook removal unconstitutional. It also asked the judge to order the board to ret urn the books to school, where they had been before the removal (Gold, 40). After this case made its way through the State court level, which the sc hool board won, and the federal court level, which the students won, the school board appealed its case to the Supreme

Court. The Supreme Court heard the case on March 2, 1982 at their building in Washington D.C. Their decision came in on June 25, 1982 when they voted 5-4 that the school board must replace the books i t had removed nearly 7 years earlier (Findlaw). The majority opinion for this case was written by Justice Brennan, who s aid that there were two questions that needed to be answered in this case. Firs t, did the First Amendment impose limitations on the school board’s authority to remove these books? And if it did, did the book ban exceed those imitations? H is stance was that the First Amendment does limit the school board’s authority t o remove books from the school. He also argued that although school boards have control over school curriculum and educational policy, that

control must not vi olate constitutional rights, in this case, the First Amendment. He noted this p recedent was set in the Barnette case. Along with him, Justices Blackmun, White , Stevens, and Marshall agreed with the Pico side of this case (Findlaw). In the dissenting opinion written by Justice Burger he argued that becau se the books could be found outside the school library, the school board ban did not prevent the students from reading them. Burger also said that the school w as also not obligated to provide access to the books, and that there was no diff erence between removing a book and not acquiring one. The school board has the full right not to acquire a book for its school’s library, and therefore should have the full right to remove one. His feeling that the

school board should hav e been victorious was shared by Justices Powell, Rehnquist, and O’Connor (Findla w). 354