tv Washington Journal Student Free Speech Tinker v. Des Moines Anniversary CSPAN March 19, 2019 8:59pm-10:03pm EDT
who fought in the civil war. and feminism in the 1960s and 70s. we will hear about the women's suffrage movement which led to the ratification of the 19th amendment almost 100 years ago. watch american history tv in primetime. starting at 8 pm eastern. here on c-span three. c-span spoke with john tinker back in february. to mark the 50th anniversary of the tinker v. des moines decision. and to talk about its impact on stephen student free speech. this is in our. today marks the 50th anniversary of a landmark supreme court case tinker v. des moines. and in just a moment we will talking one of the key players in that case, can't john tinker joining us from des moines, iowa. first courtesy of cbs news, walter cronkite and the good evening news 50 years ago today.
>> the supreme court today endorsed the right of student protest along as the protest was not disrupt or interfere with the rights of others. but the dissenting justice hugo black said the ruling begins a revolutionary area permissive this fostered by the judiciary. the 7-2 decision upheld the right of free des moines teenage to where black antiwar arm burns to high school. it said students do not leave the freedom of speech and expression at the school door. that courtesy of cbs news and two at the key players in this case, mary beth tinker and john tinker, joining us from des moines, iowa is john tinker. good morning and thank you for being with us. >> good morning it's great to be with you. budget we apologize that your sister mary beth could not be with us, we'd understand there's been some ice and whether in the greater des moines area so we appreciate you trekking out and being with us on the sunday morning. give our audience a brief overview of the case?
>> we wore black armbands to post protest the war in vietnam back in december 1965. and when we were suspended, we decided to sue the school system for violating our first amendment right to freedom of expression. and we lost at the district court, the federal district court here in des moines. we appealed to the appellate court in st. louis and there they split 4-4 so we appealed to the supreme court, the us supreme court. there had been a previous case coming out of the fifth circuit where students had been given the right to where freedom buttons, around the civil rights movement. and so with the split between the two circuit courts, the supreme court agreed to hear the case. at the supreme court, as you mentioned, we want 7-2.
a goal for the next hour and we should point out we welcome our view is on c-span three, american history tv, talk not only about the significance of the case but also 50 years later, how and why it is relevant today. from the majority opinion such as a fortress with the following quote, first amendment rights applied in the school environment are available to teachers and students, it can hardly be argued that students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate. can you explain the significance of that decision? >> well this is the first time the supreme court had recognized that students in the public schools are persons under the law and therefore they are endowed with their first amendment rights. with the proviso that they not disrupt the educational environment. there cannot be a material and substantial disruption of the
environment, and they cannot infringe on the rights of others. but this is the first time that had been articulated by the supreme court. so that was a significant change in the way that students in the public schools were seen. >> we should point out as well today is the anniversary of the historic supreme court ruling, the genesis began in the mid- 1960s, let's go back to what the country was facing in that time period. lyndon johnson had just been sworn in to a full four-year term and the war in vietnam continued to escalate. if you look at the figures courtesy of the defense department, there were an estimated hundred 84,000 u.s. soldiers in vietnam. look at the increase from the previous year where there were just over 23,000 soldiers. the death toll from a few hundred in 1964, to nearly 2000 in 1965. so explain what you, your
sister, and what others were thinking about in that time period, you are what 15 or 16 years old? >> yes i was 15 years old. i explained that my sister and i both came up and we grew up within the civil rights movement. our parents were both active in the civil rights movement. i will just tell a short story here, we lived in a small town in iowa that only had one black family. and the kids in that family were not permitted to use the public swimming pool. and my father was a methodist minister in that town. he brought that issue to the city council there and instead of just correcting it and allowing the kids to go to the swimming pool, they denied the kids permission and the church where my father was a pastor thought that was a divisive issue in the church, so they did not renew his contract.
so we moved to des moines. he was appointed to a different church and in des moines my mother sort of major that we had black friends. she became involved with the civil rights movement in des moines. and indeed we did have black friends. when we invited them to come to our church, that church also did not want to have black people in their church. and so they also did not renew our fathers contract. at that point he began working for a quaker organization, the american friends service committee. and his tight job title was peace education secretary. so his job was to bring in speakers about world affairs and to basically promote peace. and so that's the environment that we grew up in. so by the time the war in vietnam was building up, it was natural for us to be opposed to
it. and so by thanksgiving time of 1965, there was a large demonstration in washington, d.c. there were two charter buses from iowa, mostly they were college students from the state university of iowa, grinnell college and the university of iowa. that there were also other peace activists. i asked for permission to be on that bus trip and to go to washington, d.c. and i was able to go. on the way back from that there was a discussion on the bus what we might do to continue to protest the war. the idea was raised that we could wear black armbands. black armbands had also been worn during the civil rights era to memorialize the three girls that were killed and birmingham. the four girls i
should say, and the three civil rights workers that were also killed. there were black armbands worn around that so it was very natural to where we are black armbands two more to mourn the death on all sides of the conflict in vietnam. and also we were them to promote the idea of robert kennedy had for a christmas truce that your. so when the school authorities found.we are going to wear armbands, the principal got together and decided that the inference would not be permitted armbands would not be permitted. we decided that we really should wear them anyway. and so we wore the black armbands and completely silent, a symbol of our opposition to the war. we were suspended from school, there was a community decision really, and the peace community in des moines and in iowa that we would go ahead and pursue
the matter in the courts. so that's how it got into the court system. >> we are talking with john tinker our phone lines are open we are dividing our phone lines, if your student or teacher, 202-748-8000. for all others, 202-748-8001. we have a picture of your home in des moines we know that by the time the case came down in 1969, and the family moved to st. louis missouri, you begin to get a sense of what is happening on december 16, 1965, you were the armband and you're in high school at the time along with christopher ecker, your sister mary beth was in middle school and you have two younger siblings were in elementary school. they too were the armbands correct? >> that's correct. we all were opposed to the war we all felt it was a horrible loss of life going on in vietnam. we were all mourning the deaths. so yes we did all we are armbands. i will say the morning that
mary beth wore the armband i was delivering newspapers. it occurred to me that we hadn't had a group discussion. of, it was not just our family and christopher eckardt who were the armbands. i was a member of the unitarian youth group and the pretty much the whole youth group had decided to wear armbands. but after we found out that the school authorities had banned the wearing of armbands, we had hadn't had any kind of group discussion. so while i was delivering newspapers, i was thinking that we really should get together. i got on the telephone and i called people up and told them to hold off until we could have a discussion of what we are going to do about that. that mary beth had already gone to school. she left early and chris, when i got a hold of him, he said i
don't care, i'm going to work anyway. so he went ahead to school. so after the two of them were suspended for the first day, we did have a meeting at chris's house that afternoon. we tried to call the president of the school board and he told us that it was not an important issue and we should wait until january and take the matter to the school board. but that would have been after christmas period and we thought it was important to support the christmas truce. and we thought that we had a first amendment right to where the armbands. so the rest of us were the armbands and we were suspended the next day. >> did you ever get an apology after-the-fact from either the principal, school board members, teachers, others who said you couldn't wear the armband? >> you know, we never got a formal apology but i don't feel
one is really required at this point. the des moines school system has been very welcoming to us and has really treated us well and provided opportunities for us to talk to students. and been very, they seem to be for supportive of the case as it sits now. >> why is your case 50 years later relevant today. >> think of all the issues that students have. there is obviously the gun violence issue, the parkland shooting being a very large one a year ago in florida. but any number of school shootings have taken place. global warming is an issue that students are very concerned with. and their are local issues that students encounter. the suppression of student
speech often occurs because schools are embarrassed because the students are pointing out problems that the school administration may be causing. anyway students all throughout the country have things that they want to say, and i think it is good for our society if they are allowed to say at. >> does get your phone calls as we look back at the 50th anniversary of this landmark case. of the cases we featured in our landmark cases serious. michael from coral springs florida, good morning. >> good morning. i gotta say, this is a real honor to do this mr. tinker, your name is on the ap exam every year. so it's kind of cool to talk to. >> thank you michael. >> i've always wanted to ask, and i'm glad you just segued into, are we fortunate that you
guys were protesting something noble like the war and the other reference you made, some kids want to protest about civil rights and other noble causes. what if eight students came in to school wearing swastikas on armbands or something, another, something that is hope run. of hora. the decision didn't address, what you guys were protesting just your right to where the. so how would you respond to that? >> michael thank you. >> that's right, our case, looking back on it, it was fairly simple, in some ways. it was a silent symbol. we weren't standing up on the desk proclaiming anything, we were just wearing are armbands. and it was obviously a political statement that we
were making. so it fit get right down the center of what frees speech is all about. and so that is fortunate in a way. if you had a swastika or a hate symbol of any kind, i think it would complicate the matter, because the disruption to the educational environment is a very important consideration. because in our country we have compulsory education and the public schools are what we call a creature of state. so it is a kind of double-sided issue. we have to have an appropriate educational environment and yet because it is a creature of the state, it has to be true to the constitutional rights that we have. so it is a fortunate coincidence of nondisruptive protest.
that truly political statement. >> augusta john tinker a defendant petitioner in the case tinker v. des moines. it was heard in the fall of 1968. the decision handed down on this day in 1969 did you have a chance to listen to the oral argument? >> this is kind of a sad story for me. i arrived at the airport in cedar rapids with plenty of time for the 11:00 p.m. flight. i had had a long day. when i got to the terminal, full of people, i fell asleep. when i woke up everybody else was gone. i was kind of surprised that nobody had bothered to just shake me on the shoulder or something to wake me up. but there it was. i don't know if it was the fact that i had a beard and long hair at the time had anything to do with that but anyway, i miss the flight. in in the morning i could only
get a standby flight. i got bumped off of the flight that connected from chicago to washington. so by the time i got to washington and my father came and picked me up at the airport, it was all over. i have since been able to hear the oral arguments and they are quite interesting. if anyone in the audience would be interested to hear those arguments, they are available online. >> and they're available on the c-span website. this week your oracle arguments and the archival arguments as c- span.org. and also go to landmark cases for our 90 minute program on this case. greg from holyoke massachusetts, thank you for waiting. good morning. >> good morning. of like to ask mr. tinker what his views are on kids not being able to where there maga hats and shirts to school. >> thank you. >> my personal belief is that
we should permit all forms of nondisruptive expression in the schools, especially ones that have political components. there was a case in california where students have wanted to where american flag shirts to school on cinco de mayo which is a mexican holiday. and my sister and i mary beth the night did right and amicus brief on behalf of those students that wanted to where the american flag. so i would support the wearing of maga hats or maga shirts, i disagree with that position but i would certainly support direct freedom expression to where those. >> is that the original armband now on your arm this morning? >> know this is not. this is an armband that has been printed out by the tinker tour
which is a project that my sister, mary beth, has organized. it is a commemorative of this 50th anniversary. >> the website is? >> the original armband was black, simply black, didn't have the peace symbol on it. we have kind of elaborated it a little purpose but to the website is tinker tors usa.org. if you want to get more information. met mary beth tinker who is part of our landmark cases series described what happened in 1965. >> of course i was very very nervous because i wish i anyway and i was only 13 years old and eighth grade. so people were talking about what to do and what to do but i decided to go ahead and try to be brave like the other kids i had seen as examples on the news and thinks. so i had an armband and i had
it on and i picked up my friend connie like he usually did on my way and she said you better take that off and you're going to get in trouble. so then when i got to school, i met and i saw one of my favorite teachers mr. moberly after lunch. he gave me a pink pass. so i went to the office and i looked around the office and i looked at mr. tanner and the vice principal and they said take off the armband because it's against real. so i said tell the students. and the schools now and the great stand of courage and conviction, i said okay, i took off that that armband and i gave that to them. but i learned a very important lesson than. you don't have to be the most courageous person in the world. you can be you. you can be you, you can be scared and you can be shy and
you can still make a difference because that's what happens. >> mary beth tinker along with her brother who made history with a landmark case celebrating 50 years ago today. john tinker is joining us from des moines. and also if you want to follow us on twitter at c-span history we have a poll and here is the question. the students today have enough free speech rights is school? as part of our american history tv programming, among those on the survey 26% said it's about right. 13 per say too much in 5061% said not in the. you can weigh in on the twitter poll again follow us at c-span history. richard is next from redlands california. good morning. >> good morning. >> go-ahead richard. >> how you doing sir? this is richard from california. i just moved out here but i came from des moines to southern california. i left them out there, i lost my fianci, well i got say my
wife, fianci to cancer and we moved out here and i got my son appear in school. he is now 13 years old and the schools are having like sexual abuse going on, something like that. and i am just not understanding it and the kid is not getting the right schooling, nobody calls me into talk to me or say you know, we need to address or that. you know it's just weird how they do the schooling out here compared to what we are used to. but i just want to say god bless you guys. >> okay richard thank you for the call, do you want to weigh on that point? >> well, thank you richard, i'm sorry to hear about your fianci. the school officials have a tremendous task.
and i have nothing but admiration for the and what they are trying to do. and it is a difficult role that they are in. with regard to our case, you had mentioned earlier, justice black's dissent in our case, saying now is the time that the students are going to run riot righteous in the schools. and that generally has not happened. so originally administrators, the sum of them felt they they were not going to know how to handle this freedom of expression that the students now had. but a lot of them had figured out a good balance and it really is often an educational opportunity when you have problems in the school related to expression.
and remember, the students in school are not just learning math and science and history and things like that. they are also learning how to be citizens in our democracy. and so it is very important that the first amendment he respected and that students are taught to respect the first amendment and not not think that it is just something that we say because it sounds good. that the first amendment is something we really believe in. >> a landmark cases series which includes not only the tinker case but also new york times versus sullivan, griswold the connecticut, cassidy in the u.s., greg, verse georgia and all of them on our website at landmark cases.c-span.org. in this black at middle school is in des moines commemorating what your sister did and middle school student for her role in supreme court history and
continue to work as an advocate for first amendment rights. back to your phone calls, diane in new york city, good morning. >> hi i'm 12 years old and in my seventh grade history class were learning about your case. i was wondering if you thought whether specific like racial or homophobic slurs targeting other students should silby protected and under the first amendment rights of students in schools? >> diane can you stay on the line what john tinker's answers that i want to follow up. >> okay. >> my feeling is that, and this is not the official, legal position or the case law necessarily, but my feeling is that some expression verges into virtual assault. i know that assault is defined purely as physical violence but a threat can really cause
physical consequences on the receiving end of the threat. there is quite a bit of controversy over the issue of hate speech. i am generally very, very supportive of speech and i think that our society is better off if you do if people do express in words their opinions of things. but i know that that threats can converge in toward the actual nature of violence. so it is a complex issue. speech outside of school that affects what goes on in the school, it's a very difficult issue. i think that generally speaking, we should avoid suppression of speech and that any control of speech should be
done with circa's action and a great deal of concern that we not infringe on the speaker. but i hope that our society can find ways to work out its problems, especially without resorting to physical violence. i think that is a very bad rake down, obviously. but the only way we really have is with words. we really depend on our ability to communicate in words in order to avoid more serious takedowns in society. i am very hesitant root to restrict what anyone might say. >> john tinker you mentioned
space and of course the underlying argument in the 7-2 decision handed down 50 years ago today, the first amendment to the u.s. constitution which provides of course freedom of speech. as reminder it says congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or the right of people easily to peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances. want to go back to diane if you are on the phone from new york city. yes? >> you are 12 years old and mary beth tinker was 13 at the time. we have a photograph from that. john tinker was 15. you think you would've had the courage to do what they did more than 50 years ago on issues that you're facing today in high school or elementary school or middle school? >> well i think that it was affecting our affecting our country that it would be affecting me to and that i would want to play a role and speak out. >> dan thank you very much,
where'd you go to school? >> i go to row to country school in the bronx. >> thank you for the call, john tinker what do you hear from this 12-year-old? >> i think that's wonderful. we need that kind of courage from our students and i am sure they will carry that courage with them as they grow older and become more active citizens, voting citizens. i think that is a very good attitude to take. >> you are in des moines iowa and that is where rachel is joining us, she is a teacher, good morning rachel. >> good morning, i'm in middle school teacher in des moines, iowa. and our students study your case and it is a great honor to speak to you mr. tinker. my question concerns i think you mentioned it just now, it concerns the internet and speech on cyberspace. the court seems conflicted on how to apply the standard set in tinker the des moines.
and how student rights don't stop at the schoolhouse gate. in cyberspace is something else that is, kind of both at the schoolhouse gate and beyond. so my question is how do you think the standards set by the tinker v. des moines should apply to student speech on the internet which can be disruptive in the school? i wonder what your thoughts on that, and thank you very much. >> rachel before we get his response was the reaction from your students when you teach this case? >> they are fascinated by per capita something that was incredibly influential tour society at large and specifically for students rights. and that it happened here des moines and it's something local in their community, and they love it. >> rachel thanks for the call, john tinker? >> thank you rachel. it is an honor for me to be here is speaking with you too.
it is a difficult problem. the cyberspace and freedom of speech. my view is that we should be distinguishing between speech which is conveying ideas and speech which is threatening and is an attempt to intimidate people. now how that can be done by the courts, i am not sure. the distinction between inside and outside of the schoolhouse gates is becoming blurred. but i will just go back to my general physician regarding freedom of speech and the importance of that it holds for our democracy. and that we should be very careful when we consider limiting speech. i would encourage our culture,
our society to teach kids to try to see things from the other side. when you have hate speech, you have someone who is trying to inflict damage or intimidation on another person and you have a person who is on the receiving end of that. and an old principal and law and ethics and morality is to look at from the other side, from the other point of view. it is not always easy. if it where it would not have these problems. but it is an educational opportunity for an adult with a mature sense of right and wrong and ethical and moral principles , it is an opportunity for an adult to help the students understand what they are saying
and how it is going to be received at the other end. and i know there are cases where that works. so i would encourage teachers to help their students find a mature position. >> dan johnson, attorney argued the case on your behalf. how old was he at the time? and what did he tell the justices? >> well, dan johnson was 29 years old and he took our case. he told the justices that that freedom of speech is very important. they asked and asked him whether speech inside the school should be outside the school and i believe he answered yes. and that is the not exactly the position that the court took one
a port just wrote his majority opinion. it is not exactly the same freedom of speech that you have inside the school that you would have on the street corner on a soapbox. the educational environment is fundamental, it is absolutely important to the functioning of the schools. and so speech that would be disruptive of the educational environment cannot be permitted. but a port is said that a four to set in order to limit speech in the schools, it must be materially and substantially disruptive and he says that minor irritation might have to be tolerated because that is the nature of our society. so in our society we are going to have disputes. and we're going to have contentions and we can't try to cut them all out, we can only control it if it is going to be
materially and substantially disruptive or if there is a reasonable fear for that it will be to the school environment. >> abe fortas wrote the majority opinion and the justices harlan and black the two dissenters in what was a 7- 2 decision. handed down 50 years ago today. two other quick points among those suspended, your friend christopher eckardt. who was he? >> chris eckhart was the actually became the class president. of the class. he went on to the unitarian church, i tended both the meeting and the unitarian church and so i knew him through that. his parents maggie and william were very strong civil rights advocates and very strong peace advocates. we knew them, our family our families knew each other. so we had four parents, that
were both very strong, chris also very strong peace activist. and a good guy. he was not really a close friend of mine that we knew each other and i respected him. he became as i said he became the class president of his high school. and so the holes to the body as a whole respected him. >> by the time the case was decided 50 years ago today, you had moved to st. louis, this is the pre-internet, pre-cable tv and no smart phones in 1969. how did you find out about the decision? >> well, when my family moved to st. louis, i was attending the university of iowa. so i was living at a dormitory there at the university of iowa. i was in my room. a reporter from the daily iowan, the school newspaper at the university called me up and informed me that we had won our supreme court case.
he asked me how i thought about that. and i said well, i am glad. and i was happy that we had won her case but i was also, i realize it didn't end the war. for us to have won her case. we had won the armband to protest the war and the work continued for some years. after we won our freedom of speech case. so it was really two different issues, the victory was not, the victory on free speech was not really our primary goal. the primary goal was to end the war. through our, we understood we were a small part of that effort. >> that go to gary, a teacher in connecticut, good morning. >> good morning i'm a retired teacher and retired engineer. i wanted to relate some of the trials and tribulations that i went through in high school.
being opposed to the war in vietnam. just to set the picture, i consider myself conservative, i was clean-cut, jacket and tie. and whatnot but i studied history in history told me that the war in vietnam was a big mistake. and in the five history classes i took debates would often arise on the war in vietnam. and i would take the view of being opposed to the war. as a result of that and having written several editorials to school newspaper and to the local newspaper, i guess i was part of my job. at the end of my senior year, in 1967, there was a history award that was to be given out in my school. i had had all a's and the five courses that i took, had a perfect square. on the history s.a.t. and the head of the history department who was the dar term and for the local community denied me the award because she said i had not really learned
the history if i was opposed to the war in vietnam. the way it was a real struggle of being ostracized. just for holding a point of view that i thought was historically correct. i think history has proved it was. >> thank you, kent. >> wow. that was quite a story. i'm sorry that happened that way. i can only say that maybe say it to your whole audience that if you think you are a patriotic american, and you feel the way to express that patriotism is to suppress and cause problems for somebody that disagrees with your opinion, in my opinion you're not really being a patriotic american. the court, the supreme court vindicated us in a sense. they said they didn't pronounce upon the war in our opinion, they said that what we did was
completely an american thing to do. and to express your opinion about the war or any other issue is a very american thing to do. and if we are going to bring our country helpfully into the future, we need to be able to express our opinions and not just express them, we need to be able to hear other people when they express their opinions. and so you have told the story which illustrated that time in history when people were not so good at doing that. and i hope going forward into the future we can improve on that. >> eric is a teacher joining us from new york. good morning and welcome to the conversation. >> it's a great conversation. john, just to say, i was 15 years old also in 1965 up here in new york going to school. been very interesting. i called in to ask if we could expand the discussion somewhat.
because i think, i'm going to make a point that there is a wider issue, the right to protest is very, very important. that has been the theme her. i went back and i go back and read a lot of history. as a teacher and still and in 1951 we got involved in vietnam. and all the way through eisenhower and kennedy into the 60s, we were involved more and more and more. and it wasn't until what i research until 1964 where there was an incident, the gulf of tonkin incident, the naval might have been an attack on american ships or might not have been really attacked. but then congress authorized military involvement at that basis. and then in 1968, congress repealed the gulf of tonkin resolution.
know what i mean by expanding the discussion is the whole notion that we can be involved in the vietnam war and then even other boars, then without congress authorizing it and how they cast aside their constitutional responsibility perfect so john, what i'm asking is i'm thinking this must've been part of your protest. not just to protest for the sake of wearing an arm bent, but was that your consideration, how congress was you know not authorizing this military involvement when that is the primary responsibility for congress. can you give me your thoughts on that on how that part of the whole matter at hand here. i would like to hear. >> eric thank you from long island new york. john? >> that's a very important point to make. a very important question.
first personally at the time, we were opposed to the war because of the suffering, the death and destruction. and also for the hope, we war armbands hoping that the christian truce that robert kennedy had proposed would be taken seriously and lead to could lead to an ending of the war. but to your point, this is all post-world war ii. you know the russians, the soviet union was our ally and world war ii to defeat the 90s. and the japanese, also. and following that, that were, world war ii, there immediately began an arms race between the west and the soviet union. the growth of the huge destructive potential and the
nuclear arsenals of both sides, and the fear, in my view the nuclear weapon is an instrument of terror. and the threat of the nuclear weapon is tantamount to terrorism. and the the mutually exit assured destruction, we were all living with a sort of suicide pact, it's not the kind of life that we want. if you read the the quotations, i often carry them with me, but i don't have the right now, dwight eisenhower, our president in early 50s who had been the supreme allied commander in world war ii, warned us strongly against the growth of the influence by the military industrial complex. because he saw there was a prophet motive that was driving
the militarism. and the thing is when war, and the threat of war and the threat of death, terrorism, it causes people to behave in a very primal way, it kind of moves our behavior closer to the brainstem if you will. and we lose, we lose awareness of our higher consciousness and our higher value systems. and as you pointed out, there hasn't been a declared war since world war ii. so congress is really given away its prerogative with the declarer of the worst. i think that is a real problem in our country. i very much would like to get back to having a more judicious consideration of when we should go to war and when not.
i forget the number of conflicts that we were involved in at the moment but if you look back to the iraq war, you see a war that was put together on false, even dishonest reasons and the vast destruction that that caused. and the vast amount of treasure that it cost us. that trillions of dollars that have been well spent here doing things that we need to do. and so the growth of the military industrial complex, that dwight eisenhower warned us against has actually occurred. we are in that era right now. that being the rule, the military budget grows, year by year. the threats of military action are now taking on lighter and lighter circumstances, the threat now against eran and
venezuela. those are very significant things, the support for the saudis and yemen. and these are the same saudis that cut up the journalist for the washington times. in the saudi embassy in turkey. and our president dismissed that. as well that happens, that's a horrible thing that happens. but remember that the saudis buy so much of our military equipment. look at our, look at the ethical and the moral position that that is taking. many of us grew up with religious traditions that it is completely appointed to. i think as a society we need to consider what we are doing and we as citizens need to figure out find out some way to turn it around and get back to the truly civilized society.
>> john tinker of course reference to jamal khashoggi the journalist for the washington post. i want to summarize, we have had dozens of tweets but this one by jim really summarizes the sense of what viewers are thinking this morning. he writes the following, does tinker v. des moines address only those positions that we might consider political or is it relevant to other possibly destructive expressions? >> how do you respond to that? >> it does address the central core, speech political speech is the most protected speech. in the u.s. system. but i'm a believer that all sorts of expression needs to be protected if it is not the destructive. and if it doesn't violate the rights of others. i am reminded of the way the non-sees considered abstract art.
as somehow a violation of society. there are all kinds of expressions besides political expressions. that are central to being able to express human values, human values are very complex. and thankfully so. our society is made up of many more things than politics and political law. the arts are very wide and varied. and i think we need to enable expression in all forms of the arts, as well as in political speech. so i am a proponent in freedom of expression, i'm a proponent in freedom generally. if it does not destroy our society and if it does not violate the rights of others. you're going to find me personally generally in support of its.
we welcome listeners on c-span rodeo inn were talking about the case tinker v. des moines. a landmark case. the decision was handed down 50 years ago today. i know you and your sister have been traveling across the greater des moines lawyer but across the country talking about the case. it is relevant today. i want to introduce our audios to rebecca's night she's a journalist, a student journalist at the margaret stern, in high school which of course a year ago in february 14 of last year a horrific shooting. which forever change the school and the community. here's what she told your gathering on friday in des moines. >> hi my name is rebecca schneider. on the editor in chief of the eagle in the newspaper at marjory stoneman douglas high school. as you didn't know i'm sure as most of you do that last year on february 14 it was the site a shooting that which killed 17 people. but i don't think that's what marjory stoneman douglas is all about always known for no.
were not known as a school of victims were known as the school of fighters. fighters who understood our rights for first amendment rights to speak up for what we believe in. that only that but we are determined and persevere to advocate for the rights we believe that we reserve, the right to live. i think that if you're going to take anything from today it's that it doesn't matter what your age, we were 1415 1617. if you are old enough to be wrist affected by society your old enough to have a say in it. in your old enough to speak up for a. stand up for what you believe in. i have not just seen that as a survivor of the school shooting i've seen that as other student journalist. before february 14 and after that wrote about stories that are important to me and imported my classmates whether they be lgbtq class issues, gun violence, and a school and school violence in the cities and streets. or break culture and diversity in each of these are just as important as the other. if any of these issues or anything else is important to you, i encourage you to stand up for you're right and to's
the cup for them and write about them, i have seen that student voices of most important thing in this country right now. things are keeping us together and holding us politicians and everyone else accountable for their actions. so whatever that you believe in whether that be like in the issues that i have, write about them, speak about them and affect change. thank you. >> that event in des moines, iowa by the way where the later today on c-span three american history tv. let's go back to the phone calls, we have eugene from clinton barely. good morning. >> good morning. i want to tell you that i'm a 77-year-old man who wanted to protest something when i was in elementary school. and what i wanted to protest was the requirement of singing the national anthem by francis scott key. one of the reasons that i
wanted to protest it is that francis scott key was a holder of slaves. he was racially bigoted and he wrote that bombastic, that violet national anthem. now now that i'm 77 years old, i am protesting. i am protesting that all youngsters throughout the u.s. united states of america should learn the new grow national anthem by james weldon johnson. james weldon johnson wrote the anthem in the 1900s, he set it to music in 1905. and if you go to wikipedia right now and look that james weldon johnson you will find that years ago that was a contest between james weldon johnson and francis scott key the national anthem. well, james will come johnson's
anthem one. but the judge rejected it. and now we have the national anthem full of the bombastic violence and so, i say to all people, no matter what your age, if you cannot do it when you are young like i was, and grown up in the segregated place in virginia, do it when you get all. >> james thank you for the call. john tinker what are you hearing? >> i think that is an excellent idea. that is a wonderful, too. it points out the need, the need to bring it up, to say it and bring that to us. to let us know that. and lift every voice and sing. it is a wonderful son. i agree, the francis scott key song is really is a glorification of war. and i think lift every voice
and sing would be a better national anthem. i don't know how other people feel about that. i think it is open to debate. i think everybody should say what they think about that and let us know. i think that is an excellent idea. >> you heard from rebecca schneider. as you and your family and the continued to travel and talk about the significance of this day. what are your general observations about this generation? >> well, thank you rebecca for your comments. and i had the opportunity to meet with journalists from parkland, florida. the school there that had the terrible shooting with 17 students killed. to the student journalist there are very aware that another court case, hazelwood v kula meyer which limited press freedom in the school is an
important impediment to student journalists and some parts of the country. although there have been 14 states which have opened up their school newspapers to freedom of the press. i think that is a very important thing to do. the students today are more aware and more active by far than the students were in my, when i was in school. i think it's a very positive development. i think our society will benefit greatly from it. so i encourage student journalists and students of all kinds to speak up, say what you think and let us know what you think. i think it's a very essential to our society that you do so. >> good morning andy from delano florida. >> good morning. i am just retired now at 60
years old. i certainly in the gulf and talking resolution was made and certainly you would have two admit that the congress was overpaid by what a bed and overplayed incident and i will move on. regarding the students, yes absolutely. students need to be vocal and they should be given full rights. the problem i have most recently in you can see what my political leaning is that citizens united case which opened the pandora's box even wider of corporate purchases purchase of the elections. they just moved it up into the ed phase instead of being just lobbyists, now they can actually fund elections. i am, what do you think about the chance that it would be reversed? or will roberts really lean in
the direction of looking stare decisis, which is looking into the past and hold the hold that stan. >> thank you mandy of course the fundamental premise of that case is freedom of speech. >> right, thank you andy. very important question. the citizens united decision is one of the most bizarre decisions that i am aware of. to say that money and speech are the same thing. i mean honestly can we distinguish between money and free speech? money is money and speeches speech. how we spend money, especially, we had a divergence in wealth since the 1970s where the rich have been getting richer and the poor have fitting a poor.
since way back then, back in the eisenhower years, the maximum marginal tax rate was 91%. now, i'm not sure what it is. it's around 20 or 30%. somebody else can tell me. but to equate money with speech is a very strange thing. if money were speech, i would be able to go down to the store and talk my way to whatever i wanted. money is not speech. and when you equate money and speech, you're basically handing your democracy over to the people with money. and whether that is corrected at the supreme court or whether it is corrected through legislation, i hope it is corrected. it is going to be hard to correct because that same money that people talk about buying congress, well, it's not totally like that but it is significant significantly like that. money does rule a lot of congress people.
their opinions follow the money. and so if you're going to have a democracy, you really have to have one person, one vote. not $1.01. i think it is a central issue and i think we need to elect a congress that will overturn it if the supreme court is self will not overturn a. >> in the final have been it let me bring back to this case, 50 years ago today. why is it relevant today? >> well, it is relevant today because the world has not shed its problem. in a lot of ways, there is an indication that it is hard hardly progressed on some of this problems. some of the problems have become much worse. and so freedom of speech in the schools, among the students who have a future in front of them is absolutely essential in my opinion.
>> john tinker joining us from des moines. of course part of the landmark case tinker v. des moines. thank you for being with us. >> thank you for having me. it is a pleasure. here's some of our life coverage wednesday. at 12:45 pm, a conversation with randall stephenson the chairman and ceo of at&t. is hosted by the economic club. tomorrow on c-span. the chair jerome powell held his march news conference on the economy and interest rates. and at 5:30 pm from the center for strategic and international studies we hear about china and how its policies impact the u.s. in the morning on c-span two, after several failed votes on plans for the uk to leave the european union, prime minister theresa may answers more questions from members of the house of commons. then acting defense secretary patrick shanahan and house armed services committee subcommittee chair jim cooper
speak at a forum on the trump administration 2020 budget. and the evolving national security priority in space. later the american bar association releases the 300 page report which recommendations on reforming immigration policy at the border in courts and in federal agencies. add it 9:00 on c-span three, a discussion on authoritarianism in the u.s. response. tv was simply three giant networks and a government supported service called cbs. then and 1979, a small network was with an unusual name rolled out a big idea. let viewers decide all on their own what was important to them. c-span open the doors to washington politics for all to see. bringing you unfiltered content from congress and beyond. in the age of power to the people, this was true people power. in the 40 years since the lands it has clearly changed.
there is no monolithic media broadcasting has given away to narrowcasting and youtube stars . is c-span's big idea is more relevant today than ever. no government money supports c- span, it's nonpartisan public is watching it is funded as a public service by your cable or satellite provider. on television and online, c- span is your unfiltered view the government. so you can make up your own mind. next on american history tv. kc johnson teaches a class on president lyndon johnson and richard houston supreme court nomination. from her lecture in history series this is an hour and 50 minutes. >> aright so today were looking at the development of controversial supreme court nominations in the late 60s and early 70s and the backdrop to this last time we looked at the