Julie L. Kessler
lawyer traveler writer


The boobie blunders no more!

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit has spoken. They have spoken in favor of boobies.


Well, not really. This month, in the “I ♥ Boobies” case, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia decided, in part, that the rubber bracelets two teens wore to school who were then suspended, were only “ambiguously lewd” and not “plainly lewd.” The 3rd Circuit cited Tinker v. Des Moines School District in its decision, an important 1969 U.S. Supreme Court case that involved students protesting the Vietnam War who were suspended for donning black arm bands to school.


Of course the usual and sundry constitutional arguments were raised and argued. Here, as with Tinker, few in a democracy would argue that educational institutions should require students to “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the school house gate.” That, of course, would be absurd.


The Court in the I ♥ Boobies case came to the correct decision from a constitutional law standpoint. Of course the 3rd Circuit was not really concerned with boobies or breast cancer, nor should it be. But if the I ♥ Boobies case brings even a scintilla more publicity where it should be directed–to the issue of breast cancer awareness for John and Jane Q. Public and their elected officials who can try to squeeze some more funds out of Congress for more breast cancer research–then hail to the 3rd Circuit, I say.


The fact that these two middle-school girls were even conscious enough of the subject in the first place to wear those rubber bracelets to school reflects just how far the fight against breast cancer has come in this country in the last two decades. Heck, I recall when you couldn’t even say the word “breast” at a dinner or cocktail party–unless of course you were referring to the main course. My, my how times have changed. So now that we have some of the best and brightest black-robed constitutional jurists speaking and writing lengthy published opinions about boobies, perhaps we can get the suits inside the beltway to figure out how to cough up some more money for research and bring us closer to a day when, as one of my dearest friends remarks every time before he commences yet another Komen 3-day, 60 mile walk for the cure, “the beast can be slain.” Once and for all. Here’s hoping. Walk on.

Date Posted:  Aug. 22 2013