In a case with two names that can’t be pronounced by any reasonable person, we’re going to talk about free speech.
Chike Uzuegbunam, a student at Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) is a religious dude, and he wanted to talk about his faith and shit with anyone who would listen. GGC has two free speech zones that can be reserved, and they told Chike to do that shit there. The rest of campus, he should keep his trap shut about any of his “God” propaganda.
Chike was like, “Fine you assholes,” and reserved one of those zones as he was asked, and then went on to spread the word of whatever religion it was he wanted to talk about. But Chike, is one dedicated mother fucker, and made up literature for that shit to go with his speeches.
So then the school was like, “Woah, we didn’t say you could pass out literature, man. WTF are you doing?”
So now Chike was like, “This is some bullshit” and sued them for violating his first amendment rights, and decided to seek damages.
The school, knowing they done fucked up, changed their rules accordingly, and then said, “See look at us, we fixed it. So now this case is moot, and we don’t owe him anything, right?”
But Chike was like, “Fuck you man, the damage was done. I appreciate you fixing it after the fact, but you can’t run over me with your car, put me in the hospital, and then say you don’t owe me for my hospital bills because you sell the car and can’t run over me anymore.”
So now here we are at SCOTUS to determine if mooting the case absolves GGC from owing Chike some scratch.
Chike’s side basically argues that a case is only moot if the courts have no action left to help them due to the changes made by the other party. While the school changed their policy, they didn’t do anything to compensate Chike as a result.
The defense of course didn’t suffer any injury, and therefore there isn’t any damages incurred.
Basically, the school was hoping SCOTUS would see they changed their rules, moot the case, and effectively sweep it under the rug, as opposed to dropping some legal hammer on them for shitting all over Chike’s 1st amendment rights. In order to make the case not moot, Chike’s team included like a fucking dollar’s worth of damages, so that even if the case is considered mooted because the school changed their rules, there’ still the matter of that fucking dollar to decide.
In an 8:1 decision, where only John Roberts dissented, SCOTUS ruled in favor of Uzuegbunam, saying that the nominal damages rendered the case not moot, and they could proceed, and the courts could ultimately decide the case for Uzuegbunam. That even nominal damages requested by the petitioner are worth deciding.
John Roberts in his lone dissent, was like, “You eight stupid assholes basically just ensured that every god damn case we’ll hear, from now to kingdom fucking come, will have a fucking dollar of damages added to it. Great job, dumbasses. We’ll never be able to moot a case and go home early every again. Serious, fuck you.
Read about the case here: