“A few years ago, [Swift] brought a suit against a radio host for sexually assaulting her, and she said, I’m not really interested in your money, I just want $1. And that dollar is going to represent something both to me and to the world of women who have experienced what I’ve experienced,” Kagan recalled of the singer’s argument.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett added, “What Taylor Swift wanted was, you know, vindication of the moral right, the legal right, that sexual assault is reprehensible and wrong.”
But Georgia’s Solicitor General Andrew Pinson, who was arguing on behalf of the state college and was only vaguely familiar with Swift’s case, argued that the student’s nominal damages claim wasn’t legally significant after the school relaxed its strict speech codes in 2017, just one year after Uzuegbunam first brought the suit against it. The revised school policy led to his case being dismissed as moot by a district court judge in 2018. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta affirmed the lower court ruling in 2019, which prompted Uzuegbunam to appeal to the highest court in the land.
The Department of Justice vouched for the student in front of the Supreme Court by saying that the small amount of money he was seeking shouldn’t hinder his legal argument.
A decision in the Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski case is expected by late June.