Stutz Artiano’s Appellate Team Prevails at 9th Circuit

The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of Poway Unified School District in a 3-0 unanimous decision filed on September 13th. The Court’s action reverses and vacates the lower court’s decision in the 2007 case brought by Brad Johnson, a district high school math teacher, against Poway Unified. The case was brought by the teacher who claimed his constitutional rights were violated when he was instructed by the District to remove large banners displaying “God” and “Creator” on the walls of his math class.

The Court entered summary judgment in favor of Poway Unified and its officials on all claims. Circuit Judge Tallman stated in the Court’s Opinion:  “We consider whether a public school district infringes the First Amendment liberties of one of its teachers when it orders him not to use his public position as a pulpit from which to preach his own views on the role of God in our Nation’s history to the captive students in his mathematics classroom. The answer is clear: it does not.”

Stutz Artiano’s Partners Daniel R. Shinoff, Jack M. Sleeth, Jr.  and Paul V. Carelli IV represented Poway Unified.  Jack M. Sleeth, Jr. presented oral arguments before the 9th Circuit on May 5, 2011. See Link for the Court’s full Opinion.