President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill a Supreme Court vacancy has yet another tie to Connecticut. She sided against a student in the infamous “douche bag” case, and that has upset some free-speech advocates.
In August 2007, Judge Sonia Sotomayor sat on a panel that ruled against an appeal in Doninger v. Niehoff.
Avery Doninger was disqualified from running for school government at Lewis S. Mills High School in Burlington after she posted something on her blog, referring to the superintendent and other officials as “douche bags” because they canceled a battle of the bands she had helped to organize.
The case went to court and in March 2008, Sotomayor was on a panel that heard Doninger’s mother’s appeal alleging her daughter’s free speech and other rights were violated. Her mother wanted to prevent the school from barring her daughter from running.
Sotomayor joined two other judges from the 2nd Circuit in ruling that the student’s off-campus blog remarks created a “foreseeable risk of substantial disruption” at the student’s high school and that the teenager was not entitled to a preliminary injunction reversing a disciplinary action against her, Education Week reports.
In their opinion, the judges said they were “sympathetic” to her disappointment at being disqualified from running for Senior Class Secretary and acknowledged her belief that in this case, “the punishment did not fit the crime.”