EDITOR’S NOTE: Todd Starnes owns one of the top conservative radio stations in the nation. Click here to download his free app so you can listen to conservative news and talk 24-7.
Wearing a MAGA hat represents a person exercising his or her right to free speech, a U.S. appeals court has ruled.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal judge and ruled in favor of a Washington middle school teacher who claimed that a principal violated his free-speech rights by threatening discipline if he continued to wear a “Make America Great Again” hat to training sessions.
“That 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,” wrote Circuit Judge Danielle Forrest.
The court on Thursday said there was no evidence that the teacher, Eric Dodge, had caused any actual disruption by bringing the hat to teacher-only trainings at his school in Vancouver, Washington.
Dodge had said the principal, Caroline Garrett, called him a racist and homophobe, and told him he would need a union representative if he wore the hat to school again.
The appeals court panel, though, said Dodge could not sue the Evergreen School District for dismissing a harassment complaint he had filed against Garrett or a human resources official who investigated the incident.
The case originally went before U.S. District Judge James Robart, who ruled the principal’s actions were not unconstitutional.
MAGA is a phrase coined by former President Donald Trump, whose supporters wear hats and shirts with the phrase or its acronym.
Red baseball caps with “MAGA” in white letters became a popular during Trump’s 2016 campaign and his presidency.
During an appearance in Texas last January, Trump hailed the “MAGA movement” as being “by far the greatest political movement in the history of our country.”
“And you know what it really stands for? Loving our country, that’s all it is,” Trump said.