Byron White, Supreme Court justice who wrote Hazelwood decision, dies at 84

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former Supreme Court Justice ByronWhite, author of the student-press case Hazelwood School Districtv. Kuhlmeier, died today. He was 84.

White served on the court for 31 years before retiring in 1993.He was appointed by President Kennedy in 1962. White was knownas an independent member of the Court, and his record on civilliberties was mixed.

Besides the Hazelwood decision, he generally opposed expandingfree-speech and free-press rights. White, however, voted withthe Court’s liberal wing to order racial desegregation of publicschools and was in favor to making religion more accommodatingthrough government.

In Hazelwood, the court ruled 5-3 that school-sponsored publicationsthat are not considered public forums could be censored whereschool officials demonstrated a reasonable educational justificationand where their censorship was viewpoint neutral.

The case, which gave many school officials much more authorityto censor their student publications than they had enjoyed previously,has been widely criticized by civil-rights advocates and journalismeducators. Calls from student journalists to the Student PressLaw Center seeking legal help have risen nearly 300 percent since1988, the year Hazelwood was decided.

Read the Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier decision in our Law Library.