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Thursday, October 11, 2007


In a hard-hitting reply brief filed with the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the SLRC has accused the court of original jurisdiction in the case of Hardwick vs. Heyward, the case challenging a South Carolina school system’s ban on Confederate symbols. The plaintiffs asked the lower court to grant a temporary restraining order, which would have had the effect of canceling the ban, and the court refused. The case has now been appealed to the Fourth Circuit, where it is expected to be heard later this fall.

The brief, authored by SLRC Chief Trial Counsel Kirk D. Lyons, says the school’s attorneys “hope to convince this court that, in terms of race relations and the Confederate flag, it is always 1950 at Latta High School” and adds, “In this fantastical world [the school board] would have the court believe that students … cannot tell the difference between a young lady’s peaceful and inoffensive display of a venerated ancestral icon and some mouthy, vulgar punk … “ Lyons, in his brief, goes on to say, “The [original] court … has unfortunately aided Appellees [the school board] in their attempts to circumvent the First Amendment … ignoring the substantial record [of non-disruption] prepared by Appellants [the student and her family]. It is unlikely that a better example of abuse of the [lower] Court’s discretion can be found,” the brief says.

The brief points out that there was no disruption caused by the wearing of Confederate-themed clothing at the school, whose student body is more than fifty per cent black, even though school officials used fear of such disruption to justify their ban. “The students at Latta High School have defied all the conventional wisdom on race and the Confederate Battle Flag by showing that they can be supportive and tolerant of a symbol that the pundits claim offends all African-Americans … [they] have shown, after three years of nonviolent, non-disruptive struggle with the administration over this issue that they deserve liberty. Give it to them,” the brief concludes.

The Southern Legal Resource Center


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