Trump judge rages at colleagues for refusing to deal with 'dumpster fire' First Amendment law
In the case of Mari Leigh Oliver vs. Benjie Arnold, a Texas student filed a lawsuit after she was bullied by a teacher for refusing to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Pledge has been an issue in schools since it was written in August 1892 by socialist minister Francis Bellamy. There are some Christian denominations that take the First Commandment seriously and see the pledge as idolizing the flag over God.
When Mari Leigh Oliver wouldn't stand, she was punished, publicly attacked, ridiculed, and bullied by three teachers, a principal, and a counselor over the span of four years.
By it was her senior year when teacher Benjie Arnold decided to attack Oliver saying "that sitting for the Pledge was a privilege, not a right, and that people who sit for the Pledge are unappreciative and disrespectful, stating that all they do is take from society."
In another incident, Arnold "compared people who refuse to say the Pledge to Soviet communists, members of the Islamic faith seeking to impose Sharia law, and those who condone pedophilia."
He then played Christmas music while staring at Oliver continuously. American Atheists stepped in and a lawsuit was filed. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the case could move forward after Arnold attempted to have the case thrown out. But the case was a vote of 2-1 with the lone dissenter being Judge Kyle Duncan, a conservative judge appointed by Donald Trump.
The case came up again, demanding another decision from the full Fifth Circuit, and once again Trump's judge harshly criticized his colleagues for punting on the case while implying that the First Amendment isn't settled law.
"Our law in this area is, in other words, a dumpster fire. We should have taken this case en banc to put it out. Then we could have addressed in a more coherent way how the First Amendment applies to student speech and the public school curricula, an important and developing field. For reasons that baffle me, a majority of my colleagues declines the opportunity," he wrote.
En banc is when the entire court hears a case again, instead of the previous three-judge panel in the first suit.
Coach Arnold celebrated his 50th year as a teacher in 2020. The next step for Arnold to try to halt the lawsuit would be the Supreme Court.
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