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Monday, June 25, 2007

Griper Blade: Score One for the Theocrats

It's the Bush packed Supreme Court in action. The latest in a series of short-sighted, simpleminded, politically motivated SCOTUS decisions says that if the government uses your money to violate the Constitution, you get to shut the hell up about it.

Bloomberg News:

The U.S. Supreme Court limited the power of taxpayers to challenge government actions as unconstitutionally promoting religion, throwing out a suit aimed at President George W. Bush's faith-based initiatives office.

The justices, voting 5-4, said a group of taxpayers lacked the legal right to sue over White House-sponsored conferences designed to help groups compete for social-service funding. The suit contended the sessions promoted religious organizations over secular ones.

"The decision insulates the federal government's executive branch from lawsuits centering on the U.S. constitutional ban on establishment of religion," the report reads. "The ruling also may shield states, although a number of them have laws that give their taxpayers broad rights to sue over public spending."

The whole thing hinges on the issue of 'standing' -- i.e., who has the right to sue. This Supreme Court has a history of ruling on the issue of standing when they can't find any other reasoning to get the result they've wanted. This way, they don't have to actually make a decision on the case. The Supremes had previously ruled that an atheist father, Michael Newdow, had no standing to challenge a California law requiring schools begin the day with the Pledge of Allegiance (complete with the affirmation, "Under God").

So who has the right to sue in these cases? That's a damned good question...


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