Non-Tax Cases

  • "It is just a game, after all" (Atkins v. Virginia, ___ U.S. ___, ___ (2002)). This was written by Justice Scalia in his dissent in the case finding that execution of mentally retarded inmates is unconstitutionally cruel (violation of the Eighth Amendment). He lamented that the opinion was based on "nothing but the personal views of [the Court's] members" (____). He added that the Court majority "presumably" believes that "really good lawyers have moral sentiments superior to those of the common herd" (___).

  • "[W]here a government aid program is neutral with respect to religion, and provides assistance directly to a broad class of citizens who, in turn, direct government aid to religious schools wholly as a result of their own genuine and independent private choice, the program is not readily subject to challenge under the Establishment Clause." This from the majority opinion in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris et al., ___ U.S. ___, ____ (2002) [No. 001751], the city school voucher case.

  • The Supreme Court wrote: "It is offensive, not only to the values protected by the First Amendment, but to the very notion of a free society, that in the context of everyday public discourse a citizen must first inform the government of her desire to speak to her neighbors and then obtain a permit to do so" (Watchtower Bible & Tract Society v. Village of Stratton, __ U.S.____, ____ (2002) [No. 00-1737]

  • "In the context of the Pledge [of Allegiance], the statement that the United States is a nation 'under God' is an endorsement of religion. It is a profession of a religious belief, namely, a belief in monotheism. . . . [T]he [hrase 'one nation under God' in the context of the Pledge is normative. . . . A profession that we are a nation 'under God' is identical, for Establishment Clause purposes, to a profession that we are a nation 'under Jesus,' a nation 'under Vishnu,' a nation 'under Zeus,' or a nation 'under no god'" (Newdow v. U.S. Congress et al. (No. 00-16243), ___ F.3d ____, ____ (9th Cir. 2002)).

  • The Supreme Court wrote that a "nonprofit entity is ordinarily understood to differ from a for-profit corporation principally because it 'is barred from distributing its net earnings, if any, to individuals who exercise control over it, such as members, officers, directors, or trustees'" (Camps Newfound/Owatonna, Inc. v. Town of Harrison, Maine et al., 117 S. Ct. 1590, 1603 (1997)).