Washington (CNN)The Supreme Court on Monday revived a lawsuit brought by a former student seeking to hold his state university accountable for violating his First Amendment rights when it barred him from speaking about his religion and distributing religious literature.
Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for an 8-1 majority, allowed the lawsuit to continue even though the student, Chike Uzuegbunam, who has since graduated, was only asking for $1 in damages and the school’s policy has changed.Thomas wrote that it was “undisputed” that Uzuegbunam’s rights were violated and that he could proceed with the case even though he was only seeking nominal damages.[…]
In 2016, Uzuegbunam, an evangelical Christian who was a student at Georgia Gwinnett College, was standing on a stool in a “speech area” at his school, talking about his religion and passing out religious literature. He had followed the school’s direction and reserved a spot designated by the school as a “speech zone.”But he was approached by campus police who said there had been complaints about his speech. The officer said the space did not allow “open air speaking” and that he had violated the school’s code of conduct because his speech constituted disorderly conduct.