"In light of the history of American public education,” Justice Thomas said, “it cannot seriously be suggested that the First Amendment ‘freedom of speech’ encompasses a student’s right to speak in public schools.”
That's right. The mission of American public education is to tell students what to think, to indoctrinate them with the prevailing beliefs of the day, rather than to teach them to use their own powers of rational thought. This meshes perfectly with the Bush administration's push for a unitary executive, with powers trumping those of the other branches of government. In both instances, America is being rendered vulnerable to a tyrannical majority which seeks to impose its values on the entirety of society. Long gone are the days of a pluralistic culture, embracing everyone's individual perspective and favoring none. Indeed, in yet another blow against an open society where ideas are freely and universally exchanged, the Supreme Court has deemed active desegregation through race-conscious school admission programs unconstitutional. And what better way to cement the control of those already in power than to repermit them to bias elections by saturating the media with advertisements immediately before balloting? The McCain-Feingold act has been rendered more porous than the legal arguments supporting the torture of "enemy combatants." With television, radio, print, and internet approaching nitrogen in their ubiquity, allowing the wealthy to suffocate the populace with a self-serving message will further drown out the voice of the common man. When the unitary executive does trample the constitutional guarantee of freedom from state-imposed religion, SCOTUS joins the cheering section and announces that the proletariat has no standing to challenge such abuses in court. And as a rancid cherry on top of this foul four-scoop sundae, the Supreme Court has ruled that manufacturers and distributors who forbid discounting and set minimum price floors do not necessarily violate the Sherman Antitrust Act. An independent judiciary is a fine thing, but only when it is committed to being (a) not stupid and (b) not evil. Our new chief justice and his conservative bloc seem to be failing at least one of these two key tests.