Calif. college student banned from distributing pocket constitutions files lawsuit against school

Modesto Junior CollegeThe Modesto Junior College student who was banned from distributing pocket constitutions to students on campus on National Constitution Day is suing the school for violating his First Amendment right to free speech.

Robert Van Tuinen, a junior at the school, filed a suit in federal court against the Yosemite Community College district and the Modesto Junior College administrators on October 10.

Van Tuinen was handing out the pocket constitutions as part of a week-long celebration of the nation’s founding government document sponsored by the organization Young Americans for Liberty when school officials stopped him, alleging that he didn’t have prior permission to do so. Van Tuinen was then told that students wishing to distribute materials on campus must do so within a restricted “free speech zone” that must be reserved weeks in advance.

The school later tried to backtrack on its comments, but the damage had already been done.

The claims brought forth in the suit include charging the community college district with violating Van Tuinen’s First Amendment right to free speech, as well as the right to free speech guaranteed by the Constitution of the state of California and with failing to adequately train its employees about the constitutional rights of students. Van Tuinen is requesting that an injunction be put in place which bars the college from enforcing its speech code, in addition to monetary damages determined by the court.

“I was really hoping that MJC would realize its mistakes after receiving media attention and public outcry,” Van Tuinen said in a statement released by YAL Tuesday. “Unfortunately, they did not, so I realized that taking legal action was necessary to protect my rights and other students’ rights.”

Modesto Junior College President Jill Stearns and Joan Smith, the chancellor of Yosemite Community College District, later released a statement, saying that the school wouldn’t comment on pending litigation but that it supported the right to free speech and “thanks to those individuals willing to stand up for our Constitution and expression of free speech,” according to POLITICO. 

Comments

Polititainment

Madeleine Albright T(witter)KOs Conan

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright bested Conan O'Brien by Twitter knockout Thursday night, ribbing the comedian with a comeback worthy of a seasoned pro.

Kimmel: Stoner idea or gov. expenditure?
Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R – Okla.) fifth annual “Wastebook” was released Wednesday and some of the federally funded projects are so outrageous that they can be hard to believe. Late night host Jimmy Kimmel had the same thought and offered his audience a quiz. He read the name of a project, some real and some […]
Obama channels Chris Rock again

At rallies for Democrats in Maryland and Illinois on Sunday, Obama dropped the name "Cousin Pookie" -- a character that he used frequently to energize black voters during his 2008 campaign -- during his speeches.

Oliver beats Supreme Court's camera ban
Comedian John Oliver is sick of the Supreme Court ban on cameras in the court room and the ridiculous ways it makes television news stations have to cover those cases. But all hope is not lost. “What happens at the Supreme Court is way too important not to pay attention to and yet the ban […]
Stewart and Colbert go after 'Fangate'

Both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had a field day with “Fangate” Thursday night.

White House

Obama is withholding over 15,000 Fast and Furious documents

President Obama claimed executive privilege to withhold over 15,000 documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious, including nearly 20 emails sent between Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife.

White House fence jumper charged with assault
WASHINGTON (AP) — The 23-year-old Maryland man who climbed over the White House fence Wednesday night has been charged with felonies for assaulting two police dogs and making threats, the Secret Service said Thursday. Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Maryland, is in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for previous outstanding warrants, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said. […]
President Obama, unpaid bills and the curious editing of the White House transcript
President Obama, some unpaid bills and a curiously “inaudible” section of the White House recording of a speech — that’s how all good stories start, right? While at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Chicago, Obama cracked a joke about the “unpaid bills” at his home. The joke was reported by the White House Press […]
Secrecy shrouds how the Obamas cook their chicken wings

Now it seems the Obamas are tight-lipped even about their eating habits.

Obama delivers devastating blow to red state Democrats, calls them ‘all folks who vote with me’
President Obama can’t seem to stay out of the 2014 midterm elections, no matter how much his fellow Democrats want him to. Obama spoke on Al Sharpton’s radio show Monday, which was later replayed on MSNBC, insisting that red state Democrats are still his “strong allies.” “A lot of the states that are contested this time […]

Congress

Rand Paul: ‘The war on terror is not over’

Rand Paul attempted to lay out his recently evolving foreign policy vision at his speech Thursday night at the Center for the National Interest.

McCarthy speaks out against 'Truthy' study
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is joining the growing dissent against the federally-funded “Truthy” study designed to monitor political speech on social media. In a blog post Thursday, titled “#KillingFreeSpeech,” McCarthy promises that the House Committee on Science will be conducting oversight “in the coming months on this and other questionable government-funded research projects.” “Why does the government […]
CIA agents impersonated Senate staffers to snoop
Despite a number of growing foreign and domestic threats over the summer, the CIA admitted that they had been using their resources to spy on elected officials in the Senate. Now, insiders are alleging that it’s not just what they did that is the problem, but how they went about it. A new piece by the […]
Republicans say they will reform the IRS

Republicans are talking about reforming the IRS if they gain the majority in the Senate next month, but seem to be treading with caution on making any specific promises.

'Wastebook' finds $25B in 'unnecessary' spending
Monkey gambling, synchronized swimming sea monkeys, and mountain lions on treadmills, oh my! Sen. Tom Coburn (R – Okla.) released his fifth and final “Wastebook” Wednesday, chronicling $25 billion tax dollars spent on 100  “silly, unnecessary, and low priority projects” this year. His findings are absolutely astonishing. Coburn, who is retiring this year, is not letting his fellow […]