There were some interesting Supreme Court rulings on Monday.
Perhaps the most significant was the 5-4 ruling that, in some cases, the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Act cannot prohibit various groups from naming federal candidates in ads broadcast before an election. Still, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Samuel Alito did not go as far as some conservative groups wanted and rule that the restrictions are always unconstitutional.
Roberts wrote, “The difference between so-called ‘issue ads,’ which are allowed, and those that ‘express advocacy,’ which are banned, is often hard to define.
“In drawing that line,” said Roberts, “the First Amendment requires us to err on the side of protecting political speech rather than suppressing it.” The ruling could have a major impact on the 2008 election.
Another ruling said that faith-based groups could compete with secular organizations for federal funds. It was a major victory for the President’s faith-based initiative which has always said that not to give religious groups access to federal money for charitable purposes is to discriminate against them.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.