Yesterday's Supreme Court argument in Sossamon v. Texas focused not on a discussion of protecting the fundamental civil rights of a Texas inmate, but on fairly technical considerations of legislative clarity and the sovereignty of states. Lyle Denniston offers a wrap up. Here's a snippet:
The RLUIPA law requires states, in return for federal funds, to give up their immunity to private lawsuits that seek “appropriate relief” for violations of religious rights. The case could turn on the narrow issue of what “appropriate” means and, in particular, whether it means that state officials can be assessed money damages for violations. But the Justices made clear Tuesday that, since states normally are constitutionally immune to damage claims without their consent, it had to be clear that Congress clearly had taken steps to get that consent when it offered them funds for prison or other state activity.