"The Supreme Court overturned Brown v. Board of Education"

That’s the rather remarkable claim made by this liberal blogger about the recent ruling in Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn.

Some quoted claims:

And more, of course.

Given my previous experiences with partisan blogs and legal matters, I decided to turn to the Dope as I have in the past with libertarian blogs. Does this ruling have the implications this blogger claims?

I would take a hard look at those “loosely disguised racial factors.” I know that in DC, many Black families were quite keen on the prospect of using vouchers to get their kids into (mostly white) private and parochial schools. The model promised by Brown hasn’t worked to anybody’s particular advantage, 50+ years on.

I clicked your link and gave up, in a mixture of tears and laughter, when I saw

Am I the only more than a little disgusted to see our Nine Noble and Impartial Arbiters almost always split exactly the same way?

Those looking to cut government spending need look no further than Scotus. Laying off all of the Justices except Kennedy would have no effect on “their” decisions.

Confirmation bias would be the most generous explanation for this misstatement of fact.

This term:

ARIZONA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL TUITION ORGANIZATION v. WINN et al. (5-4 “septimus split”)
ASTRA USA, INC. v. SANTA CLARA COUNTY (8-0, Kagan recused)
CONNICK v. THOMPSON (5-4, “septimus split”)
CULLEN v. PINHOLSTER (complicated split, with Ginsburg and Kagan joining Thomas for Part II of the opinion!)
FELKNER v. JACKSON (unanimous per curiam)
HENDERSON v. SHINSEKI (8-0, Kagan recused)
JOSE TOLENTINO, PETITIONER v. NEW YORK (unanimous per curiam dismissing cert)
KASTEN v. SAINT-GOBAIN PERFORMANCE PLASTICS CORP. (6-2, Kagan recused)
MATRIXX INITIATIVES, INC. v. SIRACUSANO (Unanimous)
MILNER v. DEPARTMENT OF NAVY (8-1)
PEPPER v. UNITED STATES (6-2, Kagan recused)
SKINNER v. SWITZER (6-3)
SNYDER v. PHELPS (8-1)
STAUB v. PROCTOR HOSPITAL (8-0, Kagan recused)
WALL v. KHOLI (Unanimous)

SO, what’s the final count?

Fifteen cases. Septimus’ claim? Fifteen 5-4 cases.

The reality: TWO cases. It would be more accurate to have said, “Wow, the Justices are ALWAYS uninanimous,” since there are six unanimous cases out of fifteen. The Justices agreed with each other three times as often as they split along the lines you identified.

So it must be confirmation bias. Or some other reason you’d make this claim?

I would be interested to see how the split falls for specific types of cases (e.g. cases which pit corporate entities over individual or public ones) but am not sure I could do justice [sic] to a reasonable and appropriate set of criteria.

I’m not sure either of the “5-4” cases this term fits that example description. Christian Tuition is a school pseudo-vouchers case and Connick v. Thompson is a negligence case for malicious prosecution against a DA’s office.

But if you (or anyone) can identify a set of criteria that you think “ALWAYS” produces that 5-4 split, “EVERY” time, I’d sure like to hear it.

While it’s interesting in its own right, I don’t think the “septimus split” discussion is very responsive to the question in the OP.

IANAL. My reading of the decision, concurrence and dissent did not give me the understanding that any of the Justices think the issuance of tax credits by Arizona to STO’s either obligates or necessitates a corresponding decrease in public school funding. That’s certainly not what the suit alleges, and it’s not a consequence considered as part of the hypothetical injuries to tax payers in the majority’s opinion.

The case was about violation of the Establishment clause, and the decision seems to hinge on an arbitrary distinction the majority makes between direct funding of religious activities via grants, and such funding done through tax policy. The dissenting opinion claims this is a new and unsupportable distinction, and although I agree it’s a distinction without a difference, I’d sure like to hear from actual lawyers whether it’s as odd a distinction as it seems.

In any event, I agree with the minority in their objection to the distinction, and in general I’m disturbed that the STO’s who receive the tax credits practice religious discrimination in their tuition awards to students. -I would not find such discrimination disturbing if public funds weren’t being provided to the religious institutions for that express purpose (iow, if the STO was privately funded, this wouldn’t be an issue).

But I just don’t see a connection to Brown.

Briefly skimmed the opinion, and it seems, as you could probably guess, that one individual blogger on Daily Kos may not present the most compelling argument. The case is, by and large, a case about standing. It has little or nothing to do with Brown. I suppose it could be the first step in defeating challenges to the education system, but thre would have to be a fair amount of additional caselaw to support that.

By the by, I appreciate that Scalia and Thomas, at the very least, are pretty clear in their concurrence that they don’t feel bound by the 40 years of jurisprudence around the Flast case. The honesty is refreshing.

I don’t normally participate in legal threads, and especially in legal hijacks of legal threads, but I’ve got to comment here.

It would actually only refute septimus’s actual plan if Kennedy was on the losing side in any of those.

Standing standing standing standing standing standing standing standing … mushroom mushroom … standing standing standing standing standing standing standing standing …
Fascinating case (if you like standing law) with interesting implications, but most of what the articles I’ve read glossed over standing and focused on un-reached and dicta-esque arguments. A case was before the SCOTUS, but not the one most people reported on. Sadly, this is not a rare occurrence. Reporters, repeat after me: Standing standing standing standing standing standing standing standing … mushroom mushroom … standing standing standing standing standing standing standing standing…

Yeah, I agree with **Hamlet **and Rhythmdvl. The case deals with standing, and finds the taxpayers had none in this instance. To summarize, apparently in Arizona, a taxpayer can claim credit towards his taxes for moneys paid to a School Tuition Organization (STO), which then provides scholarships to private schools–some of which are religious and some of which are not. A taxpayer may choose which, if any, STO he wishes to pay. A taxpayer may choose to ignore STOs altogether, and just pay his regular taxes. Since public funds are not directly expended, the taxpayers plaintiff below do not have standing to seek redress in the federal courts.

The liberal blogger mentioned in the OP is way off base in a “the sky is falling” kinda way.

Really? Because it sure seems to me that when you see a post like this:

You might conclude that the actual point is the one emphasized by underlines for key words.

If his point is that Kennedy is in the majority a majority of the time, I agree. But even that betrays a dramatic lack of awareness of the effect of a Supreme Court decision. The result is important, but so is the rationale leading to the result.

Even if we grant the assumption that Kennedy was in the majority in every single case, if he were the author of every opinion, it would dramatically change Supreme Court jurisprudence. Does septimus (or do you?) believe that a Kennedy opinion would lay out the same factors as a Scalia opinion or a Kagan opinion would?

Which is why standing can be fascinating with wider implications than what is being covered in the news.

Speaking off the cuff (not sufficient time to thoroughly analyze the holding), it seems that the case could be used to justify tax credits being used for any purpose. Because non-participants have no standing, and participants would lack standing because they incur no legal detriment, this suggests an open door for all sorts of tax credit-related uses that conventional wisdom would consider unconstitutional.

For example, what if a state decided to promote family values by providing a credit of up to $500 for belonging to an IRS-recognized religious organization? The tax credit would be granted/based on the body’s annual membership. Anyone can claim the credit, but the only benefit they receive is membership (i.e., outside of shenanigans, they don’t end up any money ahead). There is a strong difference in that this hypothetical is directed at religious bodies, but since it’s a tax credit (and not a grant), how does this holding affect the standing of the Usual Suspects (ACLU) in challenging the policy?

I’m also interested in (but have yet to look at to see if I’m even on the right page) the holding’s implications on the tax provisions of Obamacare. If I remember correctly, that too was structured as a credit one can claim if they have insurance. Not having insurance left you subject to the tax. Are there any parallels?

Not to hijack, but you think it would be a simple matter to make a 9x9 matrix with the percentage of time each justice votes with every other justice. Is there such a chart online?

This was asked and answered to you in a similar comment a year ago. Since you’ve already forgotten, let me try a larger font, in case that will help:

When the Court splits 5-4, the “leftish” 4 are usually on one side, the “rightish” 4 on the other, with Kennedy deciding.

You misconstrued my words to pretend that I was saying most cases were split 5-4. My guess is well-intentioned people understood what I was saying, even if I phrased it poorly. But, yes, I do need to be more careful when speaking to a … lawyer! :smiley:

And I do apologize to OP if I pulled a semi-hijack. In estimating whether the decision was “good” or “bad”, I just thought it amusing (and sad) that that answer could be deduced with 99% certainty knowing nothing but the respective Justices’ votes.

I did such a thing a few months ago in another thread here; my post with the raw data is attached. Partly due to laziness I restricted attention to 5-4 decisions.

In the post I comment on the correlations, but don’t actually provide an explicit 9x9 matrix. I might do it on this data for a smile, but am unmotivated to extract the raw data again for non 5-4 decisions.

Not sure I’ve ever seen one, and while some cases could be parsed out this way, how would a chart like that handle this result, from Cullen v. Pinholster:

Wrong. ** Bricker** understood what you typed to be blatantly obvious bullshit, which it clearly was. So he pointed out your mistake of easily ascertainable fact. And now you’re claiming the rest of the board is supposed to employ psychic powers to determine what you really meant.

I’ll stipulate that my point was poorly phrased. I’ll also stipulate that any intelligent person would be able to deduce what was intended, making only the assumption that septimus is not a moron.

Therefore I conclude that either you think I’m a moron, or want to pretend that you think that. In the former case, set me to “Ignore this user.” In the latter case, I’m happy to ignore you.

Thanks in advance.

Eh, I thought his point was pretty clear. A 5-4 decision at the Supreme level is almost certainly Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas v. Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan, Sotomayor with Kennedy deciding the majority. Which led to the statement that you could fire all but Kennedy and reach essentially the same decisions.

Pointing to unanimous decisions as “counter-examples” pretty clearly ignores the thrust of that argument.