It’s been an interesting week at the US Supreme Court, with uplifting news of a series of rulings that bolster freedom of speech and religion. You just know it’s good news for us when the New York Times opines: 

The Supreme Court hit the trifecta yesterday: Three cases involving the First Amendment. Three dismaying decisions by Chief Justice John Roberts’s new conservative majority. 

The first of these victories is a 5-4 decision favoring freedom of speech in Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission. As reported by Jim Kuhnhenn of the Associated Press

The decision upheld an appeals court ruling that a Wisconsin anti-abortion group should have been allowed to air ads during the final two months before the 2004 elections. The law unreasonably limits speech and violates the group’s First Amendment rights, the court said. 

Then, in the case of suit brought by atheists and agnostics seeking to derail President Bush’s “faith-based initiatives”, the court delivered another narrow victory for religious conservatives. As described by Ethan Cole of the Christian Post

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that ordinary taxpayers cannot challenge the White House initiative that helps faith-based organizations receive federal funding – a major victory for religious charities that receive government support. 

In a 5 to 4 vote, the nation’s highest court dismissed a lawsuit by a group of atheists and agnostics who wanted the White House to stop holding conferences with faith-based programs to help them apply for federal grants, contending that it violates the Establishment Clause. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” 

The Supreme Court’s ruling, however, creates a precedent that being a taxpayer does not give one the right to object to the federal government’s spending based on an alleged violation of the Establishment Clause. 

Finally, in the seemingly nonsensical case of Morse v. Frederick, the court ruled that freedom of speech has limits when it crosses the line into advocating illegal drug use. Mark Sherman of Associated Press writes: 

The Supreme Court tightened limits on student speech today, ruling against a high school student and his 14-foot-long “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” banner. 

Schools may prohibit student expression that can be interpreted as advocating drug use, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court in a 5-4 ruling. 

And what’s happened to Joseph Frederick, the student who created the banner, since his high school days? He pleaded guilty in 2004 to selling marijuana at a state university in Texas, and subsequently dropped out of college. 

Once again, in the battle for conservative family values, our perseverance has paid off. It is thanks to people like FIC’s supporters that we now have a court that is returning to an originalist interpretation of the Constitution. Brian Brown commented proudly upon this accomplishment in his February 2006 article on this blog: 

Following the announcements by Senators Dodd and Lieberman that they would vote against confirming Justice Alito, FIC launched a campaign to persuade Senator Lieberman to vote against a filibuster. While we are disappointed by his vote against Justice Alito’s confirmation, Sen. Lieberman did at least vote against the filibuster. 

It is because of the phone calls and e-mails from you, our members, that Sen. Lieberman, who has otherwise caved into pressure from the extreme Left, at least voted to allow Justice Alito a fair up-or-down vote! If the filibuster had been successful, Justice Alito’s confirmation might not have happened. FIC was the only grassroots pro-family organization in Connecticut fighting to prevent Sen. Lieberman from supporting the filibuster! 


Reclaiming the U.S. Supreme Court as a place where the Constitution and our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage will be respected is one of the greatest goals the pro-family movement can achieve. We have made incredible progress toward that goal over the last year and FIC has played a key role in it. 

So take heart, and remember that your voice can make a difference. We can’t rest on our laurels, though. Each of these decisions was a 5-4 split. We need to hold firm to our values, and continue our activism, in order to reclaim government from liberal secularists. 

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