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SCOTUS Deep Dive: Updating Tinker for Social Media (PODCAST)

April 30, 2021, 8:04 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court confronted how to update its landmark student free speech ruling to accommodate social media and its ubiquitous use among students.

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District said schools can’t punish on-campus speech unless it could cause a substantial disruption at the school.

The question at argument April 28 in the case of a student who didn’t make varsity cheer and expressed her displeasure on Snapchat was whether the 1969 standard applies to off-campus speech directed at the school on social media.

Joining Bloomberg Law’s “Cases and Controversies” podcast to talk about issues around Mahanoy Area School Dist. v. B.L. are activists Charlie Mirsky, of March for Our Lives, and Maya Green, of Student Voice. They describe the importance of social media to student political activities and the kinds of speech at risk in this case.

Host Kimberly Robinson discusses the court’s newest Second Amendment case asking if there is a right to possess a gun outside of the home for self protection. It’s a question left open by the landmark 2008 ruling District of Columbia v. Heller and one that’s baffled the lower courts.

Finally, the podcast will dip into the court’s latest 6-3 vote in an immigration case that didn’t break down along the usual ideological lines.

Host: Kimberly Robinson.

Guests: Charlie Mirsky, March for Our Lives and Maya Green, Student Voice.

Producer: Adam Allington.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Seth Stern at; John Crawley at