June 28, 2012 4th Circuit published opinions

Moss v Spartanburg County School District 7

The District approved a for credit course on the Christian worldview pursuant to a state mandated release time program. The class was not promoted by the district and an accredited private school reviewed the course for academic rigor. Moss and others brought suit alleging a violation of the Establishment Clause. The district court found the plaintiffs had standing, but, the program was constitutional as it served the secular purpose of accommodating religious students, did not create the appearance of endorsing religion and that passive acceptance of academic grades was not entangling. The panel affirmed. It held the some of the plaintiffs had standing because one of them received a promotional letter, they felt as outsiders because of the program and perceived pro-Christian favoritism and changed their behavior as a result of the program. Turning to the merits, the panel held that like release time programs upheld by the United States Supreme Court, the program here is off campus and does not endorse religion. The award of academic credit did not change the outcome because the school accepted transfer grades form an accredited private religious school and did not promote the class.

United States v Danielcyzk

Danielcyzk was indicted for alleged campaign donations to Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign ultimately made by a corporation of which he was an officer. The district court dismissed that count holding the ban on corporate donations was unconstitutional pursuant to Citizens United. The panel reversed. It noted that the section which Danielcyzk was accused of violating had been upheld by the United States Supreme Court. And, two rationales, anticorruption and threat of circumvention, remain viable when applied to campaign contribution limits even after Citizens United.

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