Free speech case involving Pa. cheerleader goes to Supreme Court

Also on the program: What's behind Pennsylvania's stagnate population growth?

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Airdate: Wednesday, May 5, 2021

A Pennsylvania high school cheerleader’s tirade on social media landed her in hot water with her coaches and into the national spotlight.

The teen was suspended from the squad after uploading a profanity-laced post on Snapchat, venting frustration for not making the varsity cheer squad.

Nearly five years later, a lawsuit questioning the authority of school officials to discipline her for the speech conducted after school hours has made its way to the US Supreme Court; the biggest case involving student speech to land before the high court in 50 years.

Michael R. Dimino is a Professor of Law with Widener University Commonwealth Law School and he’ll appear on Smart Talk Wednesday to outline the case. We’ll also look into the possibility the Biden administration will attempt to change the number of justices on the court, also known as “packing the court.”

Pennsylvania’s population growth lagging

The 2020 Census preliminary results are in and the count showed that Pennsylvania’s population growth is not keeping track with other states, and the US as a whole.

While Pennsylvania is still the fifth most populous, other states grew faster and matched the U.S. growth of 7.4%. Pennsylvania is far behind at 3.4% growth.

What is behind this trend and what do the numbers indicate for the state’s future?

Hans-Peter Kohler, Ph.D., is a social and economic demographer with the Population Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania and he will join Smart Talk Wednesday to offer a perspective.

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