Supreme Court Sides With Christian Student Banned from Witnessing on Campus at Georgia Gwinnett College in 8-1 Decision

Chike Uzuegbunam is seeking nominal damages from Georgia Gwinnett College for violation of his First Amendment rights after he was prevented from sharing his religious views in a “free-speech zone” on campus. (Alliance Defending Freedom)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sided with a former Georgia college student who sued his school after it prevented him from expressing religious views in a free-speech zone on campus.

The 8-1 decision, authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, said that Chike Uzuegbunam — who was silenced by Georgia Gwinnett College officials even after he had obtained a permit to proselytize and handout religious literature — can seek nominal damages despite the fact that the school ultimately changed course and Uzuegbunam subsequently graduated.

In a very rare alignment of votes, Chief Justice John Roberts was the lone dissenting justice in the case.

“It is undisputed that Uzuegbunam experienced a completed violation of his constitutional rights when respondents enforced their speech policies against him,” wrote Justice Thomas. “Because ‘every violation [of a right] imports damage,’ nominal damages can redress Uzuegbunam’s injury even if he cannot or chooses not to quantify that harm in economic terms.”

Nominal damages — even as little as $1, for example — are awarded in cases where a person has been harmed by illegal conduct but not suffered significant financial loss. First Amendment advocates called the decision a win for free speech and religious expression.

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SOURCE: ABC News, Devin Dwyer