Court rules on MAGA hat that ignited ‘racist, homophobe’ furor

A federal appeals court has ruled that a MAGA hat, brought by a teacher to school training sessions, was free speech.

The decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit originally filed by Eric Dodge against the Washington school and several officials, including the principal, Caroline Garrett, who berated him as a “racist” and a “homophobe” for having the hat.

Fox News reported Dodge wore the hat, carrying President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan, while walking up to an Evergreen Public Schools building to attend a “cultural sensitivity and racial bias” training session demanded by the school.

During the training, he put it in an area where he had some belongings, prompting others at the meeting to claim they were “intimidated” and “threatened” by Dodge’s hat.

Garrett, the report said, expressed her dislike for the hat, “verbally attacked” him and implied a threat by telling him to have a union representative with him if he brought the hat again.

The court decided in Dodge’s favor, explaining the school failed to show any evidence of a “tangible disruption” to school operations that would outweigh the First Amendment rights involved.

Dodge’s lawyers had pointed out the school had no “general prohibition on political speech” and even allowed a political Black Lives Matter poster to be hung in the library, and Garrett had a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker on her car.

WND is now on Trump’s Truth Social! Follow us @WNDNews

“That some may not like the political message being conveyed is par for the course and cannot itself be a basis for finding disruption of a kind that outweighs the speaker’s First Amendment rights,” Judge Danielle J. Forrest wrote in the opinion.

Constitutional expert Jonathan Turley, a high profile commentator on legal issues who has testified before Congress multiple times, noted the 9th Circuit’s ruling was unanimous.

And he warned that, “Garrett’s view of the MAGA hat as a symbol of hate has been fueled in the media by various leaders, particularly President Joe Biden who was denounced for his attacks on ‘MAGA Republicans’ in his Philadelphia speech. We have also seen students and others attacked for wearing the hats. At Fordham University, a coffee shop banned the wearing of the hats.”

And he pointed out Garrett cross the line of her own permissible free speech “by referencing the need for union representation. … It is hardly controversial that threatening a subordinate’s employment if they do not stop engaging in protected speech is reasonably likely to deter that person from speaking.”

He explained, “The Ninth Circuit was clearly correct in finding the hat to be protected speech. What is concerning is the lack of any discipline for Garrett or others who sought to prevent opposing political views from being expressed by teachers. The denial of free speech should be treated as seriously as other abuses. There should be consequences for administrators who discriminate on the basis on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or political viewpoints. This was a denial of First Amendment rights that should warrant some adverse action for those responsible in the school district.”

He warned the case “shows the sense of license of many teachers in curtailing the rights of others with opposing political views. That sense of license will continue despite this ruling if there are no consequences for denying free speech rights.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: The “Climate Change Cult.” The “Anti-Racism Cult.” The “Cult of Wokeness.” The “LGBTQ Cult” and its predatory offspring targeting America’s children, the “Transgender Cult.” The “Cult of Abortion.” The “COVID Cult.” The “Cult of Globalism.” “TikTok Cults.” Every month the list grows.

To right-thinking Americans attempting to make sense of a nation seemingly gone mad, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the irrational, deranged – and often demonic – leftwing political and cultural movements currently capturing the minds of millions of Americans are nothing short of full-fledged cults.

Although the high priesthood of all these leftwing religious cults – i.e., university professors, academics and other Marxist ideologues and activists – may be true believers, the people actually wielding REAL POWER do not believe any of it. To them, these leftwing cults conveniently serve to disguise and distract “the rabble” from what the leader class is REALLY up to, which is the pursuit of ever more power, wealth and glory for themselves, and a total transformation of America and the world.

All of this and much more is explored in a powerful, insightful and absolutely unique way in the latest issue of WND’s acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine, titled “HOLY WAR: Defeating the growing cult of leftism and its total war on Christianity.”

For 25 years, WND has boldly brought you the news that really matters. If you appreciate our Christian journalists and their uniquely truthful reporting and analysis, please help us by becoming a WND Insider!

Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact


This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

Spread the word:
Email Newsletter

Sign Up for our Newsletter

Enter your best address below to receive the latest cartoons and breaking news in your email inbox:
Please wait...
You are successfully subscribed!
There was an error with subscription attempt.

Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact