University of Alaska PRESS

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A Perfect Constitutional Storm in Alaska's Capital

by Foster, James C.

384 pages, 6 x 9

Format: paper and electronic, click on "Buy This Book" for pricing options

Price: $29.95


In January 2002, for the first time, the Olympic Torch Relay visited Alaska on its way to the Winter Games. When the relay runner and accompanying camera cars passed Juneau-Douglas High School, senior Joseph Frederick and several friends unfurled a fourteen-foot banner reading “BONG HiTS 4 JESUS.”

An in-depth look at student rights within a public high school, this book chronicles the events that followed: Frederick’s suspension, the subsequent suit against the school district, and, ultimately, the escalation of a local conflict into a federal case. Brought to life through interviews with the principal figures in the case, BONG HiTS 4 JESUS is a gripping tale of the boundaries of free speech in an American high school.

By following one case very closely over a long time [Foster] finds opportunities to discuss a variety of issues involved in constitutional litigation. . . . This is an interesting analysis that clearly reveals there is more to the law than the pronouncement of high courts.

—Law & Politics Review

Dangerous, disruptive unprotected speech or a sophomoric grab for TV face time? Foster’s fascinating and comprehensive book about Morse v. Frederick...walks readers through every stage of a case that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court establishing a “messy precedent” that may deeply affect First Amendment speech rights for years to come. Sensitive in its portrayal of both students’ rights and school authority, BONG HiTS 4 JESUS...considers whether this recalibration of student speech rights is a major retreat.

—Jill Norgren, Professor Emerita, The City University of New York

An appealing synthesis of first-person interviews, historical and doctrinal analysis, and political science research on judicial politics, the book examines the case from multiple perspectives as a vehicle for critical understanding of the Supreme Court's decision.

—S. B. Lichtman, Shippensburg University, Choice, May 2011

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