Bong Hits 4 Jesus

A Perfect Constitutional Storm in Alaska’s Capital

James C. Foster

Bong Hits 4 Jesus

James C. Foster

Distributed for University of Alaska Press

373 pages | 1 halftone | 6 x 9 | © 2010
Paper $29.95 ISBN: 9781602230897 Published October 2010
E-book $7.00 to $29.95 ISBN: 9781602230903 Published October 2010

In January 2002, for the first time, the Olympic Torch Relay visited Alaska on its way to the Winter Games. When the relay runner and accompanying camera cars passed Juneau-Douglas High School, senior Joseph Frederick and several friends unfurled a fourteen-foot banner reading "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS."

An in-depth look at student rights within a public high school, this book chronicles the events that followed: Frederick’s suspension, the subsequent suit against the school district, and, ultimately, the escalation of a local conflict into a federal case. Brought to life through interviews with the principal figures in the case, Bong Hits 4 Jesus is a gripping tale of the boundaries of free speech in an American high school.

Prologue: A Tale of Three Wars and Zero Tolerance

1.  Harmonic Convergence in Juneau: [In]famous for Fifteen Minutes
2.  The Tentative Tinker Rule
3.  From Black Armbands to Colliding Tubas
4.  A New Century, a Different Court
5.  The Ninth Circuit Weighs In
6.  Not-So-Brief Battles, Not Such Odd Bedfellows
7.  "Up in Smoke at the High Court"
8.  Five Takes on a Single Event
9.  Lost Opportunities and Failure of Imagination

Works Cited
List of Interviews
Tables of Cases
Review Quotes
“A rewarding and engrossing read. Highly recommended.”
Law & Politics Review
“By following one case very closely over a long time [Foster] finds opportunities to discuss a variety of issues involved in constitutional litigation. . . . This is an interesting analysis that clearly reveals there is more to the law than the pronouncement of high courts.”
Jill Norgren, City University of New York

"Dangerous, disruptive, unprotected speech or a sophomoric grab for TV face time? Foster’s fascinating and comprehensive book about Morse v. Frederick walks readers through every stage of a case that resulted in the US Supreme Court establishing a ‘messy precedent’ that may deeply affect First Amendment speech rights for years to come. Sensitive in its portrayal of both students’ rights and school authority, Bong Hits 4 Jesus considers whether this recalibration of student speech rights is a major retreat.”

John Brigham
"Before Sarah Palin, Alaska gave us Morse v. Frederick, the 2007 Supreme Court case conventionally known as "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." Foster’s book puts the case in context. The precipitious slide in Supreme Court protection for free speech in high school since Tinker in the 1960s is only part of the story.—John Brigham, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
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