by Max Brantley
Unbelievable story about a Texas high school cheerleader who went to court to avoid being forced to cheer for an athlete who raped her. She lost, all the way up to a federal appeals court, which even ordered her to pay her attorney fees. She was interfering with the work of the school by refusing to cheer her assailant, the court held.
The Fifth Circuit has repeatedly illustrated its hostility to first amendment rights and victims seeking compensation claims. Texas too has a bad track record when it comes to high-profile rape cases. A recent case involving the gang-rape of an 11-year-old girl by at least 18 men, including several student athletes, caused national outrage after many in the community tried to blame the victim. For years Texas has forced women to pay for their own rape kits. Two months ago, the Texas House approved a bill that would require victims of rape who became pregnant to get an ultrasound and hear a description of the fetus before getting an abortion.
(Texas did pass that intrusive sonogram law, another interference with women's rights. But the final bill did exempt rape victims.)