Appeals Court: MAGA Hat Is Free Speech

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that wearing a “Make American Great Again” (MAGA) hat is protected as an expression of free speech rights.

The court issued the ruling in the case “Dodge v. Evergreen School District.”

The judges decided that a Washington middle school teacher was exercising his free speech rights while wearing his red MAGA hat at school training sessions.

Teacher Eric Dodge started to wear his MAGA hat to school meetings in 2019.

However, principal Caroline Garrett threatened disciplinary actions against Dodge if he continued to wear the hat.

Dodge claimed principal Garrett called him a racist and a homophobe for wearing the hat.

Garrett warned Dodge that he would “need to have your union rep” if he continued to wear the hat to school.

Reuters reported:

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said there was no evidence that the teacher, Eric Dodge, had caused any actual disruption by bringing the hat supporting former President Donald Trump to teacher-only trainings at his Vancouver, Washington, school.

Trump-appointed Judge Danielle Forrest ruled, “Some may not like the political message being conveyed is par for the course and cannot itself be a basis for finding disruption of a kind that outweighs the speaker’s First Amendment rights.”

The case originally went before U.S. District Judge James Robart, who ruled the principal’s actions were not unconstitutional.

The 9th Circuit, however, reversed the District judge’s decision, ruling staff members being offended is not enough to override Dodge’s Constitutional free-speech rights.

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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