14 June 2004

Poultry (First Glance)

Relying on news reports, it appears that Newdow was reversed—on grounds of standing. The Court thereby evaded having to decide the underlying issue at all. Chiiiiiiiiickens!

That's not to say that standing is an invalid consideration; it is only to point out that, yet again, the Court has managed to find a procedural device to avoid deciding an Establishment Clause matter. Admittedly, standing (or a close relative) has been a nontrivial issue in every Establishment Clause decision since Lemon itself. That, however, should be a hint that something is wrong with the doctrine of standing, in that it is being used to evade the decisionmaking responsibility in undoubtedly live disputes. The particular reasoning this time around may be compelling; I haven't had the opportunity to review it yet; but it is curious that Establishment is so closely wound in with standing when it doesn't seem to have much play in other aspects of the First Amendment. Maybe there's a law review article in there (scribbling notes)…