“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” –First Amendment to the United States Constitution, December 15, 1791
After the three protesters were suspended, the Eckhardts and the Tinkers sued the district for violating their right to free expression. The lawyer arguing in favor of the Tinkers was Dan Johnston, a 25 year old graduate of Drake University School of Law. The United States District Court decided in favor of the school officials, stating that the regulation against school armbands was necessary in order to prevent disturbances in the school. The Tinkers didn’t accept the verdict. They took their case to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, hoping to reverse the decision of the District Court. The judges were equally divided on the matter, so the original decision stood. The Tinkers pursued the case even further. They petitioned their fight to the highest court in America, the Supreme Court. Two years later their case was finally heard by the Warren Court. The Tinker lawyers argued that the school officials' actions violated the students First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. The case was argued November 12, 1968, and a verdict was reached February 24, 1969. The final verdict was a 7-2 opinion in favor of the Tinkers. The ruling defined students’ constitutional right to free expression in public schools.
"If the time has come when pupils of state-supported schools . . .can defy and flout orders of school officials to keep their minds on their own schoolwork, it is the beginning of a new revolutionary era of permissiveness in this country fostered by the judiciary." –Justice Hugo Black, Dissenting Opinion, February 24, 1969
"Officials of the defendant school district have the responsibility for maintaining a scholarly, disciplined atmosphere within the classroom. These officials not only have a right, they have an obligation to prevent anything which might be disruptive of such an atmosphere. " –Judge Stephenson on the District Court ruling of Tinker v. Des Moines