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Supreme Court Decisions

The Supreme Court of the United States is in session. Here are some of the decisions the nation's highest court has handed down Monday:
  • Justices will decide political use of student fees. Agreed to decide whether state-run universities can dedicate a portion of the activity fees collected from all students (even those who object) to subsidize groups that pursue political and ideological goals. The case is Board of Regents, University of Wisconsin vs. Southworth, 98-1189.
  • Court won't revive Dallas affirmative action. Refused to revive an affirmative-action program once used by the Dallas Fire Department to promote more blacks, Hispanics, and women. The justices, over two dissenting votes, let stand a ruling that struck down the program as discriminatory against white men. The cases are Dallas vs. Dallas Fire Fighters Association, 98-966, and Dallas Fire Fighters Association vs. Dallas, 98-1130.
  • Challenge to exclusionary rule fails. Rejected a Florida woman's appeal to decide whether a judge-made rule that keeps illegally seized evidence out of criminal trials applies when a convicted criminal is sentenced. The justices, without comment, turned away an opportunity to clarify the reach of the so-called exclusionary rule, which the Supreme Court created in 1914 to deter misconduct by law enforcement officers. The case is Pryor vs. U.S., 98-7046.
  • Supreme Court to review conviction of Pennsylvania waste facility owner. Agreed to study the case of a Pennsylvania man whose conviction in a hazardous waste case was upheld even though his co-defendant's conviction was thrown out. The court said it will hear William Fiore's argument that it is unlawful to keep him in prison after the state's highest court ruled that his co-defendant was prosecuted under the wrong law. The case is Fiore vs. White, 98-942.
  • Justices won't hear public prayer case. Rejected the appeal of a Utah man whose request to give the opening prayer at a city council meeting was turned down because of its unusual content. The court, without comment, refused to hear Tom Snyder's argument that the city council in Murray City, Utah, unlawfully favored one religion over another by rejecting his proposed prayer.

    Snyder's proposed prayer was addressed to "our mother, who art in heaven (if, indeed there is a heaven and if there is a god that takes a woman's form)." It asked "that you deliver us from the evil of forced religious worship" and questioned "if in fact you had a son that visited Earth."

    The city council in Salt Lake City dropped its practice of opening meetings with an invocation rather than allow Snyder to offer his prayer.

    The case is Snyder vs. Murray City, 98-1193.

  • Turns away case alleging reverse discrimination in highway contract awards. Refused to revive a reverse-discrimination challenge to a program that gives companie owned by disadvantaged people extra help in winning contracts for federal highway projects. The justices, without comment, turned away arguments that the affirmative action program adopted by Congress unlawfully discriminates against companies owned by white men. The case is Cache Valley Electrical Co. vs. Utah Department of Transportation, 98-579.