Wikipedia has a good summary of the facts:
Morse v. Frederick is a First Amendment student free speech case argued before the Supreme Court of the United States on March 19, 2007.
In January 2002, students were released from Juneau-Douglas High School to watch the Olympic torch pass by. Frederick, running late that day, did not report to school before joining some friends on a sidewalk across the street. Frederick and his friends waited for the television cameras so they could unfurl a banner reading "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." When they displayed the banner, then-principal Deborah Morse ran across the street and seized it.
Morse initially suspended Joseph Frederick for five days for violating the school district's anti-drug policy, but increased the suspension to 10 days after he refused to give the names of his fellow participants and quoted Thomas Jefferson on free speech. Frederick administratively appealed his suspension to the Superintendent, who denied his appeal but limited it to the time Frederick had already spent out of school prior to his appeal to the Superintendent (eight days). Frederick then appealed to the Juneau School Board, which upheld the suspension on March 19, 2002. On April 25, 2002, Frederick filed a §1983 lawsuit against Morse and the school board in the United States District Court for the District of Alaska claiming they violated his federal and state constitutional rights to free speech.
The district court ruled in favor of the School Board and Deborah Morse. Frederick v. Morse, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27270 (D. Alaska 2003).
The Ninth Circuit reversed the District Court and granted the case to Frederick. Despite deciding that the incident took place during a school event, the court held that Frederick's student speech rights were violated. The unanimous panel decision was written by Judge Andrew Kleinfeld. Morse v. Frederick, 439 F.3d 1114 (2006).
The school board asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit's decision. On December 1, 2006, the Supreme Court agreed to do so, and heard oral arguments on March 19, 2007. The docket number is 06-278.
MSNBC explains how the Justices are reacting to this divisive issue:
“I thought we wanted our schools to teach something, including something besides just basic elements, including the character formation and not to use drugs,” Chief Justice John Roberts said Monday.
“It sounds like just a kid’s provocative statement to me,” Justice David Souter said.
But at least they all agree on one thing: The Bush administration gets it wrong. As usual:
Starr, joined by the Bush administration, also asked the court to adopt a broad rule that could essentially give public schools the right to clamp down on any speech with which they disagree. That argument did not appear to have widespread support among the justices.
But this is the interesting part:
Conservative groups that often are allied with the administration are backing Frederick out of concern that a ruling for Morse would let schools clamp down on religious expression, including speech that might oppose homosexuality or abortion.
The outcome also could stray from the conservative-liberal split that often characterizes controversial cases.
Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote several opinions in favor of student speech rights while a federal appeals court judge, seemed more concerned by the administration’s broad argument in favor of schools than did his fellow conservatives.
“I find that a very, a very disturbing argument,” Alito told Justice Department lawyer Edwin Kneedler, “because schools have ... defined their educational mission so broadly that they can suppress all sorts of political speech and speech expressing fundamental values of the students, under the banner of getting rid of speech that’s inconsistent with educational missions.”
I. Love. This. Case.