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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Australian politicians as bad as U.S. politicians . . .

in their reaction to a nine-year-old girl refusing to stand and sing the Australian national anthem (as a show of support for Australia's indigenous people). (H/T: A student looking ahead to our Law Review Symposium on Barnette's 75th anniversary).

The CNN story says "the school had tried to be respectful of her wishes by providing alternatives, such as not singing along." There remains a nice question as to precisely what Barnette protects as a First Amendment matter (which obviously has nothing to do with the Australia story. Is it all participation in patriotic rituals or only having to recite the words while otherwise participating in the ritual. That is, could the proposed alternative (stand at attention, don't speak) be imposed on a student?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 16, 2018 at 08:28 PM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman | Permalink


Ritual of any kind, whether genuflection, rosary-fiddling, prayer, anthem, oath, pledge or moment of silence, is a religious exercise and government-coerced participation is a clear First Amendment violation. Privately coerced participation in a Public Accommodations setting is a civil rights violation.

Posted by: Jimbino | Sep 17, 2018 11:48:49 AM

I think Bong Hits for Jesus answered what Barnette protects -- pretty much nothing.

Posted by: J. Bogart | Sep 17, 2018 1:02:10 AM

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