Below The Beltway

I believe in the free speech that liberals used to believe in, the economic freedom that conservatives used to believe in, and the personal freedom that America used to believe in.

A Mixed Day for Liberty At The Supreme Court

I’ve written in more detail at The Liberty Papers about the major cases that came out of the Supreme Court today, but here’s a roundup.

In FEC v. Wisconsin Right To Life, the Court declared unconstitutional those provisions of the McCain-Feingold law that restrict advertising that specifically mentions a candidate for office 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a General Election. On the whole, this was a good decision. Yes, it would have been nice to see the Court reverse it’s 2003 decision and strike down the entire McCain-Feingold Monstrosity, but that was never going to happen because it was only one specific part of the law that was before the Court. If the Court had gone beyond what was before it, it would have been the kind of judicial activism that I generally detest, even if the result would have been one I wanted.

In Morse v . Frederick, the Court upheld the actions of a school Principal in Alaska who suspended a student who held up a sign that said “Bong Hits for Jesus” at an event that took place outside the classroom and outside school property. As I explained in my post this morning, this was a serious setback for the free speech rights of students.

Finally, in Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc., the Court agreed with the Bush Administration’s argument that a group of atheists do not have standing to challenge expenditures that are part of President Bush’s faith-based initiatives program. As I pointed out in my post about the case, if taxpayers can’t challenge plainly unconstitutional uses of tax dollars, then who can ?

I’d count this as one clear win, one clear loss, and a loss without a ruling on the merits, which amounts to the same thing I guess.

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