Today’s USSC rulings

The USSC today issued several rulings, some of which I think you’ll find of interest. Lyle Denniston at the SCOTUSblog has a roundup of the rulings here, and I’ll highlight the ones I’m talking about:

In the second decision of the day, also written by Alito and again dividing the Court 5-4, the Justices ruled that taxpayers do not have standing to sue to challenge the White House program on federal aid to faith-based organizations. The Court did not overrule Flast v. Cohen, also two Justices in the majority urged it to do so.


The fourth ruling, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., over three full dissents and one partial dissent, declared that public school officials do not violate a student’s free speech rights by punishing the student for words or actions that promote a drug message.

Completing a day of 5-4 decisions, the Court issued its fifth ruling of the day, concluding that a Wisconsin abortion rights group had a First Amendment right to aid during election season campaign ads that named a candidate running for the Senate. Three of the five Justices in the majority urged the Court to overturn the part of a 2003 ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the federal law restricting such radio and TV ads close to elections. The Chief Justice’s main opinion, joined fully by Justice Alito, said the case did not provide an occasion to revisit that ruling. Justice Souter recited at length from the bench for the four dissenters — who were in the minority on each of the day’s rulings.

I haven’t had a chance to read the rulings in full just yet, but I’m sure we’ll see some commentary coming from the fine legal eagles at The Volokh Conspiracy as well as NRO’s Bench Memos soon.

Other related links:

PM Update: Guess who’s not happy about that special interest ad ruling? Surprise surprise. Romney’s pleased, of course, if for no other reason than it gives him an excuse to take another verbal jab at McCain.

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