Other Notable Cases Going Before the High Court

Saturday, January 10, 2009

In addition to agreeing to hear two cases involving race, including the constitutionality of a key component of the extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Supreme Court yesterday agreed to hear cases on two other notable issues:

Human rights abuses in Iraq

The court will decide whether Iraq must defend against lawsuits seeking potentially billions of dollars for alleged human rights abuses committed by Saddam Hussein's regime.

The justices agreed to review a federal appeals court decision that allowed a suit by the children of two American men who were seized and held for months in Iraq during the 1990s. The children say they suffered emotional distress because of their fathers' captivity.

The court also will review a separate case involving allegations that CBS News reporter Bob Simon and two other men were kidnapped and tortured during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Iraq says it has immunity because of an order from President Bush in 2003 after Hussein was toppled. Iraq argues that lawsuits in American courts would be inconsistent with U.S. support for its new government. The combined cases are Iraq v. Beaty and Iraq v. Simon.

No Child Left Behind

The court will decide whether Arizona is providing enough money for programs for students who are learning the English language. The justices will review lower-court rulings that the state has failed to provide adequate funding for these programs, violating the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Arizona's state school superintendent and the leaders of the state House and Senate urged the court to hear their appeal, arguing that a 2006 law essentially eliminated long-standing funding inequities. The state itself asked the court to stay out of the dispute, saying Arizona would be better off working to comply with the lower-court judgments.

The cases are Horne v. Flores and Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives v. Flores.

-- From News Services

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