Making Sense of 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus': A Study of Rhetorical Discursive Bias in Morse v. Frederick

36 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2010

Date Written: Fall 2010


At its core, this article questions the cognitive influence communicative interactions in oral arguments may have upon the Justices’ decision-making ability. This article opens inquiry into judicial behavior in oral arguments, by examining, from a communication perspective, the Justices’ rhetorical discursive interaction and then considering the scholarly and social repercussions of the Justices’ interaction. By offering a unique perspective through research and methodology, this article presents findings that are distinct from the common aggregate behavioral models and typical longitudinal studies conducted by political scientists and psychologists. In addition, analysis of a specific case enables research focused upon each Justice’s individual rhetorical discursive interaction in oral argument. Mapping the Justices’ individual behavior enables readers to determine the manner in which certain Justices may have controlled the discursive flow of information and arguments within the case’s oral argument, and the mapping exposes a judicial discursive bias that may influence the Justices’ decision-making ability.

Suggested Citation

Malphurs, Ryan A., Making Sense of 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus': A Study of Rhetorical Discursive Bias in Morse v. Frederick (Fall 2010). Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, Vol. 7, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Ryan A. Malphurs (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University ( email )

Langford Building A
798 Ross St.
College Station, TX 77843-3137
United States

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