For the first time in over 50 years, a high school student has won a free speech case in the Supreme Court. In its June 23, 2021, decision, the Court ruled that a Pennsylvania high school could not punish a cheerleader for posting an off-color Snapchat. In an interview with Girls’ Life magazine, James Carlos McFall, who led the Jackson Walker team that successfully obtained the largest-known settlement in a student speech case in U.S. history, discussed the tricky nature of student speech.
“Where it gets tricky is when student speech impacts the school environment,” James said. “That blurred line of where speech originates and where it lands is a natural consequence of social media. It has made First Amendment analyses of these issues really interesting.”
To read more, see the Girls’ Life article “Can your school punish you for your social media posts?” For related insights, check out the article “Student Snapchat Decision May Hint at SCOTUS Social Media Rulings.”
James Carlos McFall’s practice focuses on media, sports, entertainment, and complex commercial litigation, including cases of alleged fraud, tortious interference, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and theft of trade secrets. In First Amendment media and entertainment litigation, McFall has represented TV networks, newspapers, journalists, internet publishers, film directors, and producers in cases of libel, defamation, and misappropriation of likeness in California and Texas. He also has significant experience litigating disputes and arguing motions under the journalist’s shield law, the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), state open records and meetings laws, and state anti-SLAPP statutes.