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The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a huge victory for proponents of parental choice in education Monday. The high court agreed 5–4 with the arguments of Alliance Defense Fund attorneys and dismissed an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against an Arizona program that promotes school choice.
It held that the challengers to an Arizona tax credit which provides tax credits for contributions to tuition organizations, which then use the contributions to provide scholarships for, among others, religious schools, lack standing under Article III because they are challenging a tax credit, rather than government spending.
CBS: “Authorities intercepted a parcel this morning addressed to Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) containing a bloody pig’s foot and a derogatory message, a source has confirmed to CBS News.”
LifeSiteNews: HB 2416 expands the state’s informed consent law, clarifies the term “abortion” to include chemical abortion, prohibits the proscription of RU-486 abortion pills through video-hookup (“telemed abortion”), and creates a requirement for a guardian ad litem for a minor seeking abortion without parental consent.
ACLU: Supreme Court Rules Arizona Taxpayers Lack Standing To Challenge Tax Credit System Used To Fund Religious-Based Scholarships
ACLU: “Unfortunately, today’s decision may encourage state legislatures seeking to subsidize religion without judicial review,” said Paul Bender, a law professor at Arizona State University’s law school and former U.S. Deputy Solicitor General who served as lead counsel for the plaintiffs and argued the case in the Supreme Court.
National Journal: The House Rules Committee was meeting on Monday evening to consider a measure to repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s regulations, designed to prevent Internet carriers from blocking websites that use too much bandwidth.
Fox News: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says that the burning of a holy text is “un-American and inappropriate” in response to questions about the burning of the Koran by a Florida pastor.
But the Supreme Court saw through all of that rhetoric and held that the ACLU’s clients have no right to come to court in the first place because they have no legal standing. In simple terms, they have no injury to complain of. The Court agreed with ADF’s argument that the money donated is private money—not the government’s—and that someone else’s donation creates no legal injury to ACLU’s clients.
ACLU RI: The Rhode Island ACLU today filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a prayer mural addressed to “Our Heavenly Father” that is displayed in the auditorium of a Cranston public high school . . . Read the complaint for this lawsuit here.
Reuters: The United States will hit the legal limit on its ability to borrow no later than May 16, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Monday, ramping up pressure on Congress to act to avoid a debt default.
Baptist Press: Beatings, torture, arrests, harassment and church demolitions are among the 90 recorded cases of persecution, a nearly 17 percent increase over 2009, according to a report released by ChinaAid on March 31.
Jason Lee Steorts at National Review Online: On one hand, we think marriage has something to do with reproduction and its consequences; on the other, we think it has something to do with the experience of two people who are in love. Opponents of same-sex marriage think the law should concern itself only with the first facet and must not define marriage other than in terms of its orientation toward procreation.
UK Human Rights Blog: In an interesting post, Aidan O’Neill QC concludes that the European Court of Human Rights is “in danger of imminent collapse” due to its backlog of 140,000 applications with around 1,600 arriving every month; a conclusion compounded by inherent delays. He suggests that the way to draw back Strasbourg from the brink of judicial Armageddon is to abolish the individual right to petition Strasbourg and to introduce a referral system whereby national courts request Strasbourg’s opinion on human rights issues, akin to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
Blog of the Legal Times: Williams Mullen partner Jimmie Reyna is scheduled to get a Senate vote today on his nomination for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
LifeNews: “Researchers at the University of Michigan announced over the weekend they killed more human embryos and created two new embryonic stem cell lines which have the genes of human embryos with genetic mutations.”
Liberty Counsel: Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of the Liberty University School of Law, commented: “Parents deserve the right to choose how to educate their children. This program gives parents the rights that everyone should enjoy. It is contrary to our history of liberty that parents should be forced to educate their children in government schools, particularly when some schools doom their children to failure. Parents know best about their children’s well-being and should be given every opportunity to provide a quality education of their choice.”
Center for Arizona Policy: Center for Arizona Policy filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the program, along with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, Christian Legal Society, and several religious liberty organization and scholars
Family Research Council Praises U.S. Supreme Court for Upholding Parents’ Rights, Religious Liberty in Education
FRC applauds the work of its allies the Alliance Defense Fund, Liberty Counsel and the American Association of Christian Schools. We also thank U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), whose 1995 authorship of the Arizona Scholarship Tax Credit legislation while serving in the Arizona legislature set the groundwork for today’s historic ruling.”
AFC: The effort to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision was led by the Institute for Justice and the Alliance Defense Fund
Washington Post: But the decision, on a technicality, may be a short-lived victory for the FCC. Verizon Communications said it plans to file another complaint against the agency’s so-called net neutrality rules, once the regulations are officially introduced in the Federal Register.
Toronto Star: A lawyer fighting to overturn Canada’s ban on polygamy is urging a judge not to base his decision on what may be criminal behaviour by some of the residents of a polygamous commune in B.C. George Macintosh, a government-appointed lawyer . . .
Fox News: “Parents should be able to choose what’s best for their own children. This ruling empowers parents to do just that,” Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel David Cortman said in a statement. “The ACLU failed in its attempt to eliminate school choice for hundreds of thousands of students nationwide and also failed to demonstrate that it had any constitutional basis for its clients to file suit in the first place.”
“Though 98 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services to pregnant women are abortion, Planned Parenthood and its political allies have sworn up and down that taxpayer dollars do not to pay for abortion. But of course they do. Planned Parenthood gets one-third of its entire budget from taxpayer funding and performed more than 650,000 abortions between 2008 and 2009.”
“If you state on Form 843 that your claim is based on the unconstitutionality of DOMA, which is an issue pending in current litigation, it is more likely that the I.R.S. will do nothing until the issue is finally determined,” she added. “And if DOMA is struck down as unconstitutional, you should be entitled to the refund on the amended return.”
LifeSiteNews: The Canadian statement allows euthanasia by dehydration (slow euthanasia) of infants with cognitive or other disabilities based on a “quality of life” assessment and with consent.
Herald Scotland: Events at the Italian Salesian Roman Catholic mission in Duekoue increasingly echo a notorious church massacre during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Early reports suggested that more than 800 people, largely from the Gbagbo-supporting Gueré tribe, were killed in a single day at the sprawling Salesian Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus mission in Duekoue, 300 miles west of Abidjan towards the Liberian border. The attackers seem to have been largely soldiers descended from Burkina Faso immigrant Muslim families loyal to Ouattara.
CBS: Crossroads GPS, the cash-rich Republican outside group planning to spend $120 million on the 2012 election in conjunction with its sister organization American Crossroads, announced Wednesday the launch of a website called www.Wikicountability.org “designed to crowd-source information gleaned from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and other public documents by organizations, individuals and journalists.”
LifeSiteNews: Kansas is poised to follow in the legislative footsteps of Virginia by creating new regulations that bring abortion clinics in line with hospital standards for outpatient surgical centers
LifeNews: “The governor of Virginia can amend legislation; however, both the House of Delegates and the Senate will have to vote to approve the governor’s changes before the law can go into effect.”
LifeNews: Philippe Isnard, a teacher of history and geography at Manosque, France, has been dismissed without any financial indemnity from the French National Educational system for showing his students videos and pictures on abortion while discussing French abortion law. Dismissal without indemnity is the harshest disciplinary sanction.
LifeNews: The Obama administration has filed papers with the federal appeals court in Atlanta seeking to overturn a Florida judge’s ruling declaring the entire Obamacare law unconstitutional.
LifeNews: “A group of 41 pro-abortion members of the Senate have vowed they will do everything they can to keep taxpayer money flowing from the federal government to the Planned Parenthood abortion business.”
Lambda Legal: Lambda Legal, Knights Out, OutServe, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Anti-Defamation League today filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals urging it to uphold a lower court ruling that declared “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) unconstitutional. The brief was filed in support of a case originally filed in 2004 by the Log Cabin Republicans.
ACLU, PUBPAT And U.S. Solicitor General In Federal Appeals Court Today Challenging Patents On Human Genes Linked To Breast Cancer
ACLU: on, Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) and U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal were in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. today urging the court to uphold a lower court ruling that patents on two human genes are illegal.
Eugene Volokh at the the Volokh Conspiracy:In my new article on the history of the Free Press Clause, I argue that the freedom of the press was seen near the time of the Framing (and near the time of the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as in between and largely since) as protecting the right to use the press as technology — everyone’s right to use mass communications technology. It was not seen as protecting a right of the press as industry, which would have been a right limited to people who printed or wrote for newspapers, magazines, and the like.
AP: “For Muslim women who cover their faces with veils, it is the moment for making plans. Starting April 11, a new law banning garments that hide the face takes effect. Women who disobey it risk a fine, special classes and a police record.”
Politico: “A conservative judge’s campaign for re-election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court has become the next front in a growing multi-state Republican effort to limit the power of organized labor.”
Religion Clause Blog: “Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a national non-profit alliance of local, state and federal scientists, law enforcement officers, and land managers, yesterday issued a press release complaining that the National Park Service has failed to create a policy regarding religious displays on federal park lands . . . ”
Religion Clause Blog: In Harrell v. Donahue, (8th Cir., March 31, 2011), the 8th Circuit held that the U.S. Postal Service was not required to accommodate a Seventh Day Adventist letter carrier’s request to have every Saturday off.
Religion Clause Blog: In State of Oregon v. Brumwell, (OR Sup. Ct. March 25, 2011), the Oregon Supreme Court, in reviewing the murder conviction and death sentence imposed on defendant, rejected defendant’s argument that evidence of Satanism introduced at the penalty phase of his trial violated his free exercise rights.
One News Now: Kevin Theriot, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, explains. “We prepared a letter for the governors around the country to assure them that they can recognize the National Day of Prayer, and that it is a perfectly legal activity for them to do and something our founders have done from the beginning of our country, and [it is] a practice we’ve maintained up until this very day.”
Biblical values, fears of destruction of civilization voiced by opponents to civil unions in Colorado
God Discussion: Douglas Napier of the Alliance Defense Fund led the formal opposition against the bill and maintained that civil unions would likely lead to same-sex marriage, despite a 2006 voter-approved constitutional amendment that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The debate quickly disintegrated from there, as witnesses began quoting the Bible, regurgitating thoroughly debunked claims about ex-gay therapy and even predicting the end of times. The Family Research Institute’s Dr. Paul Cameron — whose so-called ‘research’ on homosexuality has been condemned and refuted by most major medical organizations in the United States and Canada — provided the most colorful testimony.
Heritage Foundation Morning Bell: The policy the FCC is trying to enact is known as “net neutrality,” an unfortunately vague code word for government regulation of the Internet. Supporters of net neutrality will tell you the regulation is necessary to keep the Internet “free and open” and to prevent corporations from “throttling” network speeds, making it faster to download some things, slower to download others. And, in this doomsday, apocalyptic, dystopian future, only the FCC can save the day with more and more government regulations. FCC, stay home, the reality is much different.
SIFY.com (AP): Attorney Jim Campbell said she was instructed to tell the client she didn’t have the experience to handle the case, even though she had extensive background in helping clients with relationship issues. “She was targeted for mistreatment based on her religious beliefs,” said Campbell, a lawyer with the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative religious rights organization that took the case. “It’s not her burden to come up with an excuse. She was offered one dishonest option — to say she didn’t have the expertise to handle the case — and she refused it.”
El Paso Times: But Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance Defense Fund, said he does not believe Brown broke IRS rules. His organization considers those IRS rules “suspect.” “We think the IRS’ ability to censor what churches say is unconstitutional,” he said.
Oregon Faith Report: Georgene Rice interviews Joseph Infranco with the Alliance Defense Fund to discuss greater implications of a recent New Hampshire Supreme Court Ruling that forced a home school student into a government run school against her mother’s wishes. The court made clear it was not addressing larger religious liberty or home school issues, but rather on the narrow facts of the case.
CBN: Attorney Jim Campbell said she was instructed to tell the client she didn’t have the experience to handle the case, even though she had extensive background in helping clients with relationship issues. “She was targeted for mistreatment based on her religious beliefs,” said Campbell, a lawyer with the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative religious rights organization that took the case. “It’s not her burden to come up with an excuse. She was offered one dishonest option – to say she didn’t have the expertise to handle the case – and she refused it.”
NCPA Policy Digest: “Parents are the adults closest to children, and, in almost all cases, know their children better than anyone else. Parents pay for public education through mandatory taxes. Most send their children to public schools, attend parent-teacher meetings and encourage their children to do homework. By and large, parents possess the best information about their children.”
AP: “Faced with declining enrollments and shrinking revenues, public school districts from Maine to California are seeking out students from overseas, particularly China, to attend their high schools.”