Monday, June 25, 2007

What a difference a justice makes

The Supreme Court issued opinions in five of the nine cases left on the docket for its 2006 Term. The three most important decisions reached the following conclusions:
  • The EPA does not have to comply with a mandate of the Endangered Species Act when it is required to take a specific action under another law. The ESA mandates are generally draconian, therefore this is a win for those seeking a more flexible approach to environmental regulation (like pollution credits instead of command and control mandates). This decision reversed a Ninth Circuit ruling that found the EPA had acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner;
  • The Wisconsin Right to Life Association had a First Amendment right to air advertisements during campaign season that specifically identified a Senate candidate who acted against their position. This is the second McCain-Feingold case and the candidate who complained about an ad criticizing his abortion position was . . . Russ Feingold. To their credit, Justices Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy wanted to overturn the previous McCain-Feingold case, decided in 2003 by Justice O'Connor. To their discredit, Souter, Stevens, Ginsburg and Breyer were foursquare in support of this diminution of First Amendment rights
  • Taxpayers do not have standing to sue to challenge the White House program of allowing federal aid to faith-based organizations. This is a victory for people who do not see an Establishment Clause violation in every single possible connection between the government and any religious organization.
For more, see SCOTUSblog's coverage at the link in the title of this post.

No comments: