The U.S. Supreme Court and government officials are about to find out that the result of a shut off microphone during high school valedictorian Brittany McComb’s speech and testimony to Jesus is a voice louder than anyone can imagine.
Rutherford Institute to Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court on Behalf of High School Valedictorian Censored, Silenced for Referencing Christ
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — (The Rutherford Institute) The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed the First Amendment case of a high school valedictorian whose microphone was turned off after she began speaking about the importance of religion in her life during her graduation speech.
In issuing an unpublished decision in the case, the Court ruled that school officials did not violate the First Amendment rights of Brittany McComb when they cut off her microphone. McComb, who is currently studying at Oxford University, plans to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court with the help of The Rutherford Institute.
“This is a very important free speech case that will affect the rights of all persons across America,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “If government officials can extinguish speech by turning off microphones at public assemblies, then none of us will have any rights.”
In the spring of 2006, Brittany McComb was one of three valedictorians chosen based on their grade-point averages to give a speech at Foothill High School’s annual commencement ceremony. Each valedictorian was provided with “suggestions” for crafting their speeches. However, school officials neither encouraged nor forbade the students to include or exclude religious content from their speeches. In her speech, Brittany reflected on past experiences and lessons learned at school and wrote about the emptiness she experienced from accomplishments, achievements, and failures in her early high school years. She then mentioned the fulfillment and satisfaction she later came to experience in something greater than herself, namely, in God’s love, and Christ.
Upon receiving a copy of Brittany’s draft speech, school administrators proceeded to censor her speech, deleting all three Bible references, several references to “the Lord” and the only mention of the word “Christ.” Believing that the district’s censorship of her speech amounted to a violation of her right to free speech, on June 15, 2006, Brittany attempted to deliver the original version of her speech in which she talked about the role that her Christian beliefs played in her success. The moment Brittany began to speak the words, school officials cut off her microphone. Despite extensive jeers from the audience over the school officials’ actions, McComb was not permitted to finish her valedictory speech.
With the assistance of The Rutherford Institute, Brittany McComb filed a First Amendment lawsuit against Foothill High School officials in July 2006. In June 2007, the U.S. District Court for Nevada rejected the school district’s second attempt to have the case dismissed and affirmed that the lawsuit raises substantial claims of infringement of McComb’s right of free speech. School officials subsequently appealed to the Court of Appeals to have the case dismissed.
source: The Rutherford Institute News
image source: The REBELution
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