Chike Uzuegbunam, a Christian college student, was barred by the college from sharing Christian flyers on campus, according to The Daily Wire.
Uzuegbunam was told that he needed to reserve a “free speech zone” time slot.
Uzuegbunam sued Gwinnett College in Georgia.
The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of ADF client Chike Uzuegbunam, giving him the justice he deserves. https://t.co/Y5fJWFOUQy
— Alliance Defending Freedom (@AllianceDefends) March 9, 2021
Uzuegbunam handed out religious literature on campus grounds.
Uzuegbunam was stopped by campus police.
It was explained that Uzuegbunam could only distribute and communicate freely in two designated areas on the campus after securing a permit.
Even after obtaining the permit police officers approached Uzuegbunam saying that people were complaining about his speech.
At that time campus policy prohibited using the free speech zone to say anything that “disturbs the peace and/or comfort of person(s).”
The officer told Uzuegbunam that his speech violated campus policy in this regard.
Uzuegbunam was threatened with disciplinary action if he continued.
Justice Clarence Thomas, writing the opinion for the Court, stated, “Uzuegbunam experienced a completed violation of his constitutional rights when respondents enforced their speech policies against him. Nominal damages can redress Uzuegbunam’s injury even if he cannot or chooses not to quantify that harm in economic terms.”
Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which argued the case for the students, stated on a press call:
The Supreme Court has rightly affirmed that government officials should be held accountable for the injuries they cause. When public officials violate constitutional rights, it causes serious harm to the victims. … nearly 90 percent of college campuses in the U.S. have unconstitutional speech policies,” and very often schools get away with it. In the past, if it was impossible to prove monetary damages, then the government could just walk away. This case will change that, putting colleges and universities at a higher risk if they choose to enact unconstitutional policies.
From The Daily Wire:
The college ultimately decided to roll back the policies that were in place, then argued that the students now had no standing to sue for injunctive relief and nominal damages. Although the college and the attorneys for the students agreed that injunctive relief was no longer in question, the students still said that nominal damages were an issue.
Abigail Streetman of Campus Reform noted:
As Campus Reform previously covered, Uzuegbunam obeyed orders from the college and requested to reserve a time from the school, which was approved, but that he was stopped once again. This second time it took only 20 minutes for campus police to request his ID and force him to stop because of another individual’s complaints.
Chief Justice John Roberts was the only dissenting vote in the opinion.