U.S. Supreme Court

A Conservative Juggernaut (Updated)

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Conservatives are on a roll at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Four of five rulings yesterday were decided 5-4 by conservative majorities, according to the Washington Post.

The majority:

–Limited student speech advocating drug use.

–Refused to allow a taxpayer challenge to an executive branch program promoting federal funding for faith-based initiatives.

–Ruled against environmentalists seeking to apply the Endangered Species Act when it conflicted with another law.

–Weakened restrictions on campaign advertising by unions and corporations.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has been in the majority in all the court’s 5-4 decisions this term, and he has more often sided with conservatives, the newspaper says.

Richard Lazarus, co-director of Georgetown Law Center’s Supreme Court Institute, says the court’s divisions are more apparent this year, after last term’s “honeymoon” period for the new chief justice, John G. Roberts Jr.

Some of those divisions are apparent even in the conservative majority, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. “paid some deference to the precedents they were limiting, while Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas called for their outright reversals,” the Journal says.

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