The Supremes: A Look At the Upcoming Season

The New York Times takes a look at the upcoming Supreme Court term, which “includes cases on some of the most contested issues of the day.” Cases of particular interest include:

• Schwarzenegger vs. Entertainment Merchants Association: The Governator has gone all non-violent. How sweet! The case asks if the state of California may ban sales to children of violent video games. I say go for it.

• Snyder vs. Kagan: The case asks if the First Amendment prevents Albert Snyder from suing the Westboro Baptist Church for staging a homophobic protest at the military funeral of Mr. Snyder’s son. God may “hate fags,” according to members of Westboro Baptist, but their protests weren’t personal. The question here, of course, isn’t whether the protestors acted like assholes. If only it were that simple. The question before the court is whether the protestors’ actions are protected speech.

• Skinner vs. Switzer: Death row inmate Hank Skinner seeks access to DNA evidence he believes will prove his innocence. Justice Antonin Scalia stayed the execution of Mr. Skinner in March. In another case, however, Scalia argued that the Constitution does not grant the right to demand consideration of newly-discovered evidence, post-conviction. Hmmm…
• Arizona Christian School Tuition Org. vs. Winn: Arizona must have been tired of being ignored. They have two cases coming up before the Supreme Court, and surely they’ll be back next term to talk about their recently-passed “Walking Around While Looking Possibly Foreign” law. ACSTO asks whether state tax credits for contributions to groups providing scholarships to religious schools violates separation of church and state.
Something for everybody!
Of course, all eyes will be on Elena Kagan. But the newest justice’s first season will only reveal so much about the direction she, and this court, will take, as Justice Kagan will recuse herself from about half the cases scheduled.
To read the Times article in full, click on the NYT link in the first paragraph of this post.

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