LEXINGTON, KY — Jacqueline Duty, whose Confederate flag-themed evening gown got her barred from her high school prom, received sympathetic treatment from both liberal and conservative commentators on a segment of Fox News’ "Hannity & Colmes" show Dec. 29.
Both Mike Gallagher (substituting for conservative Sean Hannity) and liberal Alan Colmes expressed dismay on hearing that Ms. Duty had not even been allowed to leave her car on arrival at the prom, that police had been called and that the school principal had yelled at her and struck the hood of her date’s car.
Kentucky Atty. Earl Ray Neal, Ms. Duty’s co-counsel along with the SLRC’s Kirk Lyons, appeared with her. When asked by Gallagher if this was a case for the American Civil Liberties Union, Neal responded, "The ACLU has expressed an interest, but I’m working with the Southern Legal Resource Center, which specializes in Southern heritage violations." Neal added that he and Lyons were also victorious co-counsel in the precedent-setting Timothy Castorina case, also in Kentucky.
Gallagher obligingly fed Neal a question about Tinker v. Des Moines Public Schools, the Supreme Court case that established the doctrine that students’ First Amendment rights "do not end at the schoolhouse door." Tinker was one of the precedents for the Castorina action. Colmes, for his part, conceded that Ms. Duty’s right to wear her dress was constitutionally protected.
"I was expecting us to have a harder time of it," Neal said later. "I was very gratified that we were able to get our point across this well on nationwide television.
In the end, it was Ms. Duty herself who made the central point. "Six hundred and twenty-three thousand Confederate soldiers fought for my right to wear that dress," she said.