A former high school student says he had a free-speech right to wear Marilyn Manson T-shirts to class. But officials at his school in Ohio banned them as offensive, and today the student lost a Supreme Court appeal.
The court, without comment, turned down the student's argument that school officials could not keep him from wearing T-shirts depicting Manson, a "shock rock" star who took his stage name from Marilyn Monroe and mass killer Charles Manson.
Nicholas J. Boroff was a senior when he arrived at Van Wert High School in Van Wert, Ohio, in August 1997 wearing a Marilyn Manson T-shirt. Manson's real name is Brian Warner, and his group also is named Marilyn Manson.
The front of the shirt depicted a three-faced Jesus and the back of the shirt said "believe" with the letters "lie" highlighted.
A school administrator told Boroff the shirt was offensive and told him to either turn it inside out, go home and change, or leave and be considered truant.
Boroff left, and returned each of the next four school days wearing other Marilyn Manson T-shirts. Each time he was told he could not attend class wearing the shirt.
Boroff sued, saying school officials violated his constitutional rights to free speech and due process. A federal judge ruled for the school district, and the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati agreed.
The case is Boroff vs. Van Wert City Board of Education .
The Supreme Court also took these actions today:
Ruled that the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination extends to innocent people as well as the guilty. The unanimous ruling came in the case of an Ohio man convicted of shaking his infant son to death. He blamed the family baby sitter, who denied wrongdoing but refused to testify unless prosecutors granted her immunity.
Declined to get involved in a food fight between rival pizza makers Papa John's and Pizza Hut. The court turned down Pizza Hut's appeal in a false-advertising lawsuit, meaning Papa John's can still claim that its ingredients make for a better pie.
Turned down an appeal from a Marine court-martialed for refusing to take the mandatory anthrax vaccine. Lance Cpl. Matthew D. Perry challenged the legality of the order mandating vaccines and said a jury, not a judge, should have considered that argument.
Turned down another military appeal in the case of an Army enlisted man, Ronald A. Gray, who was convicted of murdering two women. Gray claimed he could not be sentenced to death by a court-martial jury of fewer than 12 people, and that commanding officers should not be allowed to choose the jurors.
Turned down an appeal from Brett Kimberlin, who claimed parole officials railroaded him when they postponed his release two years ago. Kimberlin is a convicted bomber best known for claiming he once sold marijuana to former Vice President Dan Quayle.
Let stand a decision by Ohio school officials that a student did not have a free-speech right to come to class in T-shirts promoting shock-rocker Marilyn Manson.
Rejected an appeal by a Pennsylvania woman whose murder conviction for the death of a romantic rival was thrown out by a judge but reinstated by an appeals court.