Supreme Court keeps ex-students’ lawsuit alive in college speech zone case
The Supreme Court ruled that two former students at a public college in Georgia can keep their lawsuit going against a campus speech policy, even though the policy was dropped and the students are long gone.
By a vote of 8-1, the court said that because the students sought nominal money damages, the case is still alive. In his lone dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts said the ruling will keep the courts open “to any plaintiff who asks for a dollar,” even if a ruling comes well past the end of the dispute that gave rise to a lawsuit.
Roberts said federal courts must hear only active controversies — as opposed to the advisory opinions allowed in some states — and seeking nominal damages isn’t enough to deem this case so given that the policy is defunct and the plaintiffs are no longer students.
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