The Third Circuit got the final word in a case that has sparked national attention on the issue of students' rights of free speech, when the Supreme Court denied a school district's petition for cert. on Monday. Also, in a case that may affect future elections, the Third Circuit heard arguments regarding the constitutionality of Pennsylvania ballot access laws.
"I Heart Boobies" Case Denied Cert
A group of students sued their school district after they were banned from wearing "I Heart Boobies" bracelets meant to promote breast cancer awareness. A district court lifted the school's ban and granted a preliminary injunction, and the school district appealed. An en banc panel of the Third Circuit found that the school's ban violated the students' free speech, because the bracelets were not offensive, were aimed at raising social awareness, and were not disruptive.
In the final round of the Battle of the Boobs, the Third Circuit will have the last word because on Monday, the Supreme Court denied the school district's petition for writ of certiorari. The school district will now have to refocus on educating their students, rather than engaging in legal battles with them.
Pennsylvania Ballot Access Case
Last week the Third Circuit heard oral arguments in Constitution Party v. Aichele, a challenge brought by several political parties asking for declaratory relief because of the alleged unconstitutionality of 25 P.S. § 2911(b) and 25 P.S. § 2937. Section 2911(b) requires a certain number of signatures for nomination petitions, and section 2937 provides authorization to impose costs against candidates who submit petitions without enough valid signatures.
Judge Stengel, of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, found that plaintiffs did not have standing because there was neither injury, nor causation, and dismissed the claims and denied the motion for preliminary injunction. Last week, the Third Circuit heard oral arguments, and the hearing lasted 45 minutes, according to Ballot Access News. Whether the court will find that petitioners have standing remains to be seen.