School Free Speech Case Subject of Mock Oral Argument.

Posted April 2013 in Bar Association Activities by Sharon Lopez

This month Sharon López role played the appellee’s attorney in a mock appellate oral argument presented at the 2013 Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Civil Litigation Retreat.  The argument was based on a case out of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, S.J.W. v. Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, which addressed the question: Do students have a right to express their opinion about their school and other students under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment if the student posts the opinion on the Internet from a home computer, but directs the postings to the school community?  The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals found the school had the right to regulate the student’s speech. It is worth noting the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Pennsylvania Federal Courts, reached a different conclusion in the J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District case.  Three arguments were heard at the retreat before three real judges: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin, Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Jacqueline O. Shogan, and Judge John E. Jones III, a United States District Judge from the Middle District of Pennsylvania.  The arguments were well received.  Here is a copy of the Eighth Circuit S.J.W. v. Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Opinion. Sharon enjoyed the opportunity to work with talented and experienced attorneys on important constitutional appellate issues.  She was thrilled to be partnered with Rob L. Byer, from Duane Morris, who is widely known in the legal community as a star appellate attorney.

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