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Supreme Court Struts its Conservative Ideology

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Remember when Senate Democrats joined Republicans in confirming Samuel Alito and John Roberts to the highest court of the land? You probably also recall the loud protests from citizens, Constitutional experts, human and civil rights activists and the Democratic party faithful. Citizens and newspaper editorials across the country called for Sen. Harry Reid to “Shut it down!” (it being the U.S. Senate) when first Alito and then Roberts were presented for confirmation. But, they were not in the majority so Democrats gave up without a fight, a filibuster, or even a solid no.

Well, none of us should be surprised at today’s Supreme Court rulings:

LA Times: The Supreme Court gave President Bush and Republican leaders two important victories today by clearing the way for corporate-funded broadcast ads before next year's election and by shielding the White House's "faith-based initiative" from challenge in the courts.

Both came in 5-4 rulings led by new Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

In other words:

AP: The Supreme Court ruled Monday that ordinary taxpayers cannot challenge a White House initiative that helps religious charities get a share of federal money.

NYT: The Supreme Court sided with developers and the Bush administration Monday in a dispute with environmentalists over protecting endangered species.The court ruled 5-4 for home builders and the Environmental Protection Agency in a case that involved the intersection of two environmental laws, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.

NYT: A high school student's ''Bong Hits 4 Jesus'' banner got slapped down by the Supreme Court in a decision Monday that restricts student speech rights when the message seems to advocate illegal drug use.

The court ruled 5-4 in the case of Joseph Frederick, who unfurled his handiwork at a school-sanctioned event in 2002, triggering his suspension and leading to a lengthy court battle.

So, the First Amendment no longer protects students’ freedom of speech, taxpayers may not challenge the executive branch in court, and business interests trump concerns over the environment (well, that at least is not new).

Among those who believed the Democrats should fight the confirmations, there is no pleasure in being right – again.

Quoted by McClatchy newspapers, Maureen Mahoney, a lawyer who has argued before the SCOTUS, summed it up well: "We always thought the (Chief Justice William) Rehnquist court was a good forum for business, but the Roberts court is even better."

More Supreme Court rulings coming on Thursday. I can’t wait to see what they do with affirmative action.

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Kathlyn Stone is a Minnesota-based writer covering science and medicine, health care and related policies.-She publishes, a health and science news site.
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