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Lawsuit Over Student's Pro-Trump T-Shirt Settles

No one likes to eat crow. Especially a principal.

On May 28th, Addison Barnes wore a t-shirt to school, in anticipation of a class debate in his "People and Politics" class on immigration. The t-shirt said "Donald J. Trump Border Wall Construction Co." on the front, and "The Wall Just Got 10 Feet Taller" on the back. The assistant principal removed Barnes from the room and told him to cover the t-shirt because it offended at least one teacher and one student. The school's student body is one third Hispanic, and had recently conducted a walkout over immigration. Barnes was told he could either cover the t-shirt or go home. He went home, and the school counted the absence as a suspension.

For an ill-formed sentence of just 27 words, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has caused an inordinate amount of controversy. But perhaps it's because the clause is so poorly written that it allows for so much difficulty interpreting and applying it to modern times and technology.

Today, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the jumbled construction of the Second Amendment "encompasses a right to carry a firearm openly in public for self-defense." How did the court get there?

'Drug Free' as Probation Condition OK in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Supreme Court unanimously agreed that remaining drug-free is an acceptable term of probation. Though defense attorneys claim that this is a criminalization of drug addiction, the court found that, in light of the opioid crisis and the facts of this case, the punishment fit the crime.

In this case, Julia Eldred, a 29-year-old dog walker, stole $250 worth of jewelry from her client's house in order to buy heroin to feed her addiction. She was put on probation for a year, with the terms being to go to rehab, remain drug-free, and submit to random drug testing. Eldred, though under doctor's rehab care, tested positive for fentanyl just 12 days after receiving probation, and was thrown in jail.

Drivers License Can't Be Revoked for Being Poor in Tennessee

Recently, a federal judge decided that a person's state driver's license cannot be revoked because of failure to pay court fines. At first blush, it may seem surprising that a federal judge would rule on a state issue. But the issue here is Federal Civil Rights of Due Process and Equal Protection, not state vehicle statutes. Without getting into whether driving is a privilege or a right, the federal judge ruled that revoking a driver's license merely because one cannot afford court fines for issues completely unassociated with driving is senseless and counter-productive, and basically criminalizes poverty.

Over 40 states have laws on their books allowing for driver's licenses to be revoked for failure to pay court fees and traffic fines. Though the judge only ruled on the constitutionality of the Tennessee laws, all similar state laws are now in jeopardy of being declared unconstitutional.

The abortion debate takes place on many different battlefields. Of course, there are legal regulations about when a woman can obtain an abortion, where, and from whom. But there are more subtle skirmishes on the periphery of those laws, regarding notification, consent, and the even kind of information a woman must be shown before electing to terminate a pregnancy.

One of those clashes involved so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" in California -- pro-life and largely Christian belief-based organizations that, while offering a limited range of pregnancy options and counseling, nonetheless "aim to discourage and prevent women from seeking abortions." A state law required these pregnancy centers to notify clients about state-offered services, like abortion, and disclose whether or not the clinic is licensed to provide medical services. But the Supreme Court just revived a First Amendment challenge to the law, ruling the requirement is likely unconstitutional.

Voter eligibility and voter fraud have been big topics over the past few elections, with voting rights and voter ID laws seemingly in constant flux. One of the ways in which some states try to maintain accurate lists of eligible voters is by culling its voter rolls of people who fail to appear at the polls and who then fail to respond to a notice.

U.S. Navy veteran and Ohio resident Larry Harmon was one such person, who found out he had been culled after going to his local polling place to vote in 2015. Harmon had been removed from Ohio's voter rolls because he hadn't voted in 2009 and 2010 and then, despite living at the same address for more than 16 years, had not responded to a notice from the state elections board to confirm his eligibility. Harmon sued the state, but the Supreme Court yesterday decided the practice was legal under federal elections laws, paving the way for other states to similarly purge their voter rolls.

Everyone who's attended or worked for UC Berkeley is accustomed to the regular protests conducted on campus. Every day brings a new cause, a new chant, and new protest signs. But only groups like the Occupy Wall Street movement take their crusades to the next level and try to set up camp.

After one Occupy group pitched their tents on Berkeley's campus in 2011, university police used tactics the protestors claimed amounted to excessive force. After years of duking it out in court, a panel of federal judges ruled in favor of the campus cops, although the protestors are prepared to take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Student Suspended for Pro Border Wall Shirt Sues -- and Wins

The immigration debate is certainly not confined to talking heads, shouting matches in the street, and uncomfortable discussions at family gatherings. High schoolers are also engaged in the discussion (although it often hardly looks like a discussion, even among adults). However, when one student expressed his views with a pro border wall t-shirt at school, he was suspended. While his free-speech lawsuit against the school is pending, he's at least won a partial victory in court.

Free Speech Includes Inmate's Right to Silence, Court Rules

Freedom of speech is one of those things that sounds simple enough in theory, but gets more complicated and intricate the more it's applied to real life. It doesn't mean you can say anything you want to, and saying something might be perfectly acceptable in one setting, but off limits in another. But have you thought about whether or not the First Amendment also gives you the right to say nothing at all? One court recently held that free speech includes an inmate's right to silence.

Conservative Videos Weren't Censored by YouTube, Judge Rules

There's a reason freedom of speech is in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- it's pretty central to the essence of being American. So, if that freedom starts to erode, you can bet we're going to hear about it. One group feels that their First Amendment rights have been violated in the form of online censorship. Conservative Prager University sued Google for discrimination regarding their YouTube videos. However, the judge disagrees with those claims.