Law & Order

It was a busy Monday in the U.S. Supreme Court.

In addition to that widely-publicized decision on the McCain-Feingold law, the Justices had quite a few items on their plates:

Court Limits Federal Court Jurisdiction, Taxpayers Lack Standing to Challenge Spending Programs

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that common taxpayers do not have standing to sue in federal court to challenge government-sponsored organizations that assist religious charities in applying for federal spending grants for items such as housing for homeless military veterans and AIDS patients.

The Court blocked a lawsuit by a group of atheists and agnostics that was filed against eight Bush administration officials.

That decision is correct on standing/jurisdiction grounds but there’s a bigger issue here:

I happen to be an atheist/agnostic and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that some of the most deranged members of the country’s political fringes are . . . {drum roll} . . . angry and bored atheists and agnostics!

Seriously.

Yes, separation of church and state is a pillar of our society and our political system. But if you actually believe you need to run off and sue the federal government to prevent the Salvation Army and like-minded organizations from applying for federal money to help people who’ve had their legs blown off in Iraq then you really need to up the dosages of your meds.

Court Limits Student Speech

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that public school officials were not barred by the First Amendment from disciplining high school students for speech the officials reasonably interpret as promoting illegal drug use.

That of course is the infamous ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’ case.

I’m actually surprised by that ruling. I presumed the Court would rule in favor of the students and thus against further restrictions on student speech — of which there have been several over the past 30-odd years. Not that I really mind. Certainly high school students need various restrictions on what they say and do. Hell, with Generation Y being as it is we should have raised the minimum voting age to about 25. But that’s another rant for another time and place.

Court Limits Endangered Species Act

The Supreme Court on Monday limited the Endangered Species Act and thereby handed a victory to land developers.

Reversing the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the High Court ruled the EPA has full discretion and authority to allow individual states to control the issuance of water pollution permits, which are required in most jurisdictions before developers can begin large-scale construction projects. The majority opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito.

Go figure.

Source: Associated Press accounts.
Note: I would have linked to the AP articles themselves, but they were so poorly written and in various respects so idiotic I figured I’d save you the aggravation.

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