Monday, June 4, 2007

Supreme Court Opinions Due Today

It's June, when every young constitutional lawyer's fancy turns to Supreme Court Order Lists. The Court is set to issue one or more opinions today at 10 A.M. (and every Monday through the rest of this month).

Among the cases we're watching are these below. Watch this space for analysis (or at least off-the-cuff reaction) once the opinions come down.

Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation.
Question presented: Whether taxpayers have standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge on Establishment Clause grounds the actions of Executive Branch officials pursuant to an Executive Order, where the plaintiffs challenge no Act of Congress, the Executive Branch actions at issue are financed only indirectly through general appropriations, and no funds are disbursed to any entities or individuals outside the government?

Davenport v. Washington Education Association.
Questions presented: (1) Do labor union officials have a 1st Amendment right to seize and use for politics the wages of nonmembers who have chosen not to become union members? (2) Does a state campaign finance law that prohibits labor unions and their officials from seizing and using the wages of nonmembers for partisan political campaigns without obtaining the nonmembers' affirmative consent violate the 1st Amendment rights of labor unions?

Morse v. Frederick.
Questions presented:1. Whether the First Amendment allows public schools to prohibit displaying messages promoting the use of illegal substances at school sponsored, faculty-supervised events.
2. Whether the Ninth Circuit departed from established principles of qualified immunity in holding that a public high school principal was liable in a damages lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 when, pursuant to the school district's policy against messages promoting illegal drug use, she disciplined a student for displaying a large banner with a slang marijuana reference at a school-sponsored, faculty-supervised event.

Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District #1.
Questions presented: (1) How are the Equal Protection rights of public high school students affected by the jurisprudence of Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger? (2) Is racial diversity a compelling interest that can justify the use of race in selecting students for admission to public high schools? (3) May a school district that is not racially segregated and that normally permits a student to attend any high school of her choosing deny a child admission to her chosen school solely because of her race in an effort to achieve a desired racial balance in particular schools, or does such racial balancing violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment?

Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education.
Questions presented: (1) Should Grutter v. Bollinger and Regents of University of California v. Bakke and Gratz v. Bollinger be overturned and/or misapplied by the Jefferson County Board of Education to use race as the sole factor to assign students to the regular (non-traditional) schools in the Jefferson County public schools? (2) Whether the race-conscious Student Assignment Plan with mechanical and inflexible quota systems of not less than 50% of African American students without individually or holistic review of any student, meets the 14th Amendment requirement of the use of race which is a compelling interest narrowly tailored with strict scrutiny? (3) Did the District Court abuse and/or exceed its remedial judicial authority in maintaining desegregative attractiveness in the public schools of Jefferson County, Kentucky?