Ken Starr, who investigated Bill and Hillary Clinton and defended Juneau’s ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’ case, dies at 76

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Kenneth Starr, known for his investigation of former President Bill and First Lady Hillary Clinton’s Whitewater land deal and Bill Clinton’s sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, has died at age 76.

Starr had a lesser-known role that linked to Juneau in 2002. Starr was the attorney who filed a Supreme Court petition on behalf of the Juneau School District after a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in a case where a high school student at Juneau-Douglas High School unfurled a banner that read “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” during the Olympic torch relay through Juneau in 2002.

The student, Joseph Frederick, was suspended from school, even though the banner display happened off of school grounds, but during a sanctioned field trip. The district had a rule against promoting illegal substances at a school-sanctioned event,. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that former Juneau-Douglas High School principal Deborah Morse violated Frederick’s free speech rights. 

Starr, who then worked at the California law firm Kirkland & Ellis, took the Frederick case pro bono.

Visit the First Amendment Museum at this link to learn about the Bong Hits 4 Jesus display. Photo: First Amendment Museum. 

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Ninth Circuit and ruled in favor of the school district, saying that schools have the right to safeguard those entrusted to their care from speech that plainly encourages illegal drug use. Principal Morse and other school officials did not violate the Frederick’s First Amendment rights by confiscating the banner and suspending Frederick, the high court ruled.

Morse v. Frederick remains one of the few U.S. Supreme Court cases that set limits of students’ free speech rights. 

Starr was better known for his highest profile case of his lifetime, as the former U.S. Solicitor General who led the Whitewater investigation into the Clintons, starting with improper real estate transactions known as Whitewater, but which grew into a much wider investigation.

Read more about the Bong Hits 4 Jesus case at this link.

“In a probe that lasted five years, Starr looked into fraudulent real estate deals involving a long-time Clinton associate, delved into the removal of documents from the office of deputy White House counsel Vincent Foster after his suicide and assembled evidence of Clinton’s sexual encounters with Monica Lewinsky, a former White House intern. Each of the controversies held the potential to do serious, perhaps fatal, damage to Clinton’s presidency. As Clinton’s legal problems worsened, the White House pilloried Starr as a right-wing fanatic doing the bidding of Republicans bent on destroying the president,” the Associated Press wrote.

Clinton was impeached in December 1998 by the House of Representatives, but was not convicted in the Senate.

Starr’s death was reportedly from complications following surgery in Houston, Texas, at Baylor University Medical Center. Starr was president of Baylor from 2010 to 2016 and had been hospitalized for months, family members and friends told news outlets.

8 COMMENTS

    • Edit…might be a bigger thing than this filler. No offense SD, but this is a big. Of course not repeated in the media due to the fact they are the media arm of the DNC.
      Doj and the fbi are as corrupt as the kjb.

  1. The surgery department should be investigated thoroughly. One of the docs probably knows Hillary Clinton and is supporting her in her 2024 comeback presidential race. Bye Ken. We sure do miss you.

    • Hillary isn’t going to make a comeback. Where in the world did you ever get that idea? She could barely get through a day of campaigning before she had to fly home each night to get her vampire transfusion of baby’s blood so that she could continue on the next day. All those round trip flights every day is what cost her loads of money. Remember when she was at the 911 memorial thing and she went down and they had to shove her into that van and she lost her shoes, and they quickly had to get her up to Chelsea’s apartment for her daily transfusion? She’s no more capable of running a campaign than Brandon was.

  2. And we really miss deceased US Congressman Henry Hyde, who managed the impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton. That was 25 years ago and a righteous, truthful impeachment, not some cooked-up phoney Democrat witch hunt. There IS a huge difference between Republican honesty and Democrat phoneyism.

  3. Hillary isn’t going to make a comeback. Where in the world did you ever get that idea? She could barely get through a day of campaigning before she had to fly home each night to get her vampire transfusion of baby’s blood so that she could continue on the next day. All those round trip flights every day is what cost her loads of money. Remember when she was at the 911 memorial thing and she went down and they had to shove her into that van and she lost her shoes, and they quickly had to get her up to Chelsea’s apartment for her daily transfusion? She’s no more capable of running a campaign than Brandon was.

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