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Narrow question in Supreme Court campus speech case has broad First Amendment implica

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Unread 01.13.21, 05:03 AM
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Narrow question in Supreme Court campus speech case has broad First Amendment implica

01.12.21 10:08 AM

The Supreme Court hears oral argument today in Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, addressing whether “a government’s post-filing change of an unconstitutional policy moots nominal-damages claims that vindicate the government’s past, completed violation of a plaintiff’s constitutional right.” Translation? The justices are deciding whether people whose rights have been violated should have their day in court even if they can’t show monetary harm. And there’s a strong argument that the answer should be yes. The American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Institute for Justice make that case in an amicus brief in support of petitioners, highlighting the important role nominal damages have played in vindicating a range of constitutional rights: The violation of fundamental rights by the government is undoubtedly an injury. Indeed, it is the kind of injury that [the] Court has recognized warrants extraordinary relief. ‘The loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.’ Elrod v Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 373 (1976). The nominal damages at issue are a form of relief, usually one dollar, awarded to a plaintiff who was injured but has no associated financial harm. In cases of free […]

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