The Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear a Fifth Circuit case involving the First Amendment rights of public elementary school students to discuss religion with other students and to distribute religious items, including religiously-themed candy-canes and pencils with messages such as “Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” and “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

The en banc Fifth Circuit held that students do have such rights, but that the public school administrators who had barred the students from exercising their rights had qualified immunity from suit because the rights were not clearly established.

The (rather long) en banc opinion is Morgan v. Swanson, 659 F.3d 359 (5th Cir. 2011).

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