Appeals court agrees to rehear Kentucky State yearbook censorship case; earlier decision thrown out

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown out an earlier ruling by three of its judges and voted to rehear the Kentucky State University yearbook censorship before a 13-judge panel.

The case involves the confiscation of all copies of the 1993-94 student yearbook by school officials and the transfer of the newspaper adviser to a secretarial position after she refused administrative demands to censor the publication. In September a divided three-judge panel on the appeals court upheld the censorship. In a landmark ruling, the court held that the U.S Supreme Court’s 1988 Hazelwood decision, which allowed for the censorship of a high school student newspaper, applied with equal force to college student expression.

The Nov. 29 ruling means that the court will start from scratch in deciding whether KSU’s actions violated the First Amendment. As of press time, no date had been set for oral arguments in the case, but they will probably be scheduled for sometime in the spring.

Case: Kincaid v. Gibson, No. 98-5385