Our own Greta Christina has a thorough review of the Jessica Ahlquist situation at Alternet. As always, it is well written and tightly reasoned. I especially like this part:
Let’s get #1 out of the way first. This court decision — that as a public school in the United States, Cranston High School West cannot promote religion, either any particular religion or the idea of religion in general — is, in any legal sense, entirely non-controversial. In ruling after ruling, for decades now, this principle has been made eminently clear. There have, of course, been some genuinely controversial court cases recently about separation of church and state, which examined previously untested questions and established new legal precedent.
But Jessica Ahlquist’s was not one of them. Not even in the slightest. This was a no-brainer. If the school district’s lawyers didn’t uncategorically advise the district that they didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell, and fervently plead with them to concede the case before trial, they should be disbarred.
Disbarred is probably a bit harsh, but she’s right that if the school’s attorneys didn’t advise them that they had little chance of winning the case, they were being negligent. But we have seen situations many times when school boards ignored the advice of their attorneys, especially in church/state cases. And she’s right that this was not a difficult case for the judge. It was quite obvious.