U.S. Supreme Court Begins New Term
Special Report - October 7, 2010
The United States Supreme Court is begsinning a new term this month with a number of cases related to rights protected by the First Amendment, including the very troubling anti-homosexuality protests at military funerals, a California ban on the sale of violent video games to children, and Arizona’s income tax credit scholarship program. On October 6, arguments began in Snyder v. Phelps, the case that questions whether aggressive protesting by members of Westboro Baptist Church at the funeral of Albert Snyder’s soldier son’s funeral is protected under the First Amendment, or constitutes harassment. A summary of the day’s arguments and judicial questions can be found on the Supreme Court’s blog. A decision is not expected until 2011.
In Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association, the Court will consider two questions: 1) Does the First Amendment permit limitations “on offensive content in violent video games sold to minors;” and 2) is a state’s regulation of displaying offensive and harmful images to children “invalid if it fails to satisfy the ‘strict scrutiny’ standard of review.” Arguments in that case are scheduled for November 2nd. The Supreme Court blog page for the case can be found here.
On November 3rd, the Court is scheduled to hear arguments in Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn, which questions the constitutionality of Arizona’s income tax credit to parents to help offset tuition at private schools. Opponents argue that because the majority of parents who receive the credit choose to enroll their children in religious schools, the state is violating the separation of church and state. The Supreme Court blog page for this case is here.
Other cases the Court is slated to hear include businesses seeking limits in the use of class action suits and arbitrations and several that question when federal law trumps action by the states, like an Arizona penalty on businesses that hire illegal immigrants, and parents suing a drug maker for severe damage to their child from a vaccine. Interestingly, the Court’s newest justice, Elena Kagan, has already chosen to recuse herself from 24 of the 51 cases the Court is scheduled to hear because of her former position as solicitor general in the Obama administration.
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