Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Hallucinogenic tea finds sympathy in the Court

Well, I'm feeling a little better about SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts after this decision.
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday that a small congregation in New Mexico may use hallucinogenic tea as part of a four-hour ritual intended to connect with God.

Justices, in their first religious freedom decision under Chief Justice John Roberts, moved decisively to keep the government out of a church’s religious practice. Federal drug agents should have been barred from confiscating the hoasca tea of the Brazil-based church, Roberts wrote in the decision.
Alito didn't sit on this case. One wonders if it would have been unanimous if he had, nonetheless, I like this kind of talk out of the Chief Justice.
Roberts said that the Bush administration had not met its burden under a federal religious freedom law to show that it could ban “the sect’s sincere religious practice.”

The chief justice had also been skeptical of the government’s position in the case last fall, suggesting that the administration was demanding too much, a “zero tolerance approach.”
“The government did not even submit evidence addressing the international consequences of granting an exemption for the (church),” Roberts wrote.
MSNBC is running a poll, (scroll down to the red text in the article), that when I voted was running 49% in agreement, 22% thinking it was questionable and 25% thinking it was flat out wrong. I of course voted in agreement with the decision. It's a good one. This doesn't end the matter unfortunately. The Court sent it to back to be kicked around again in a federal appeals court.

One expects the White House will expend yet more of the taxpayer's resources on this ridiculous vendetta against the 140 people who comprise the congregation of the church. I wonder how many hundreds of thousands of tax dollars they've already spent on the litigation? The White House has been appealling every decision made by the courts in favor of the church for years.

What do they care? They're spending our money.


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