Court Backs Faith-Based Initiative

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In 5-to-4 votes, the Supreme Court today backed the president’s faith-based initiative and ruled in favor of the suspension of a student for displaying a controversial banner at a rally.

In one, a group called the Freedom From Religion Foundation Inc. sued eight Bush administration officials for blurring the line between church and state. Group members argued they had the ability to sue thanks to a 1968 Supreme Court decision that allowed taxpayers to contest government programs that promoted religion.

Today, the court said they didn’t. The faith-based initiatives were initiated by the president, not Congress, and thus the organization did not have standing, the court ruled. 

In another case that U.S. News reported on in March, a high school student was suspended after displaying a 14-foot-long banner at a school event that read, “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.” He said it was his freedom of expression. The court today said not so, since he was clearly advocating drug use. The court ruled that the student’s First Amendment rights weren’t violated when school officials stepped in and confiscated the banner and suspended the student.

--Nikki Schwab