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The Supreme Court ended its 2004 Term by strongly reaffirming the principle that government should not be in the business of promoting religion.
The end of the Term may also have signaled the end of an era, with rumors swirling that Chief Justice Rehnquist may soon step down after leading the Court for 19 years. Whether or not those rumors are accurate, it was a Term in which the Chief Justice was on the losing side of many of the ideological battles he has fought so vigorously throughout his judicial tenure.
"The Court's civil liberties record this year was a surprisingly positive one," said Steven R. Shapiro, the ACLU's national legal director. "In contrast to past years, the Justices seemed less anxious to undermine meaningful civil rights enforcement, more skeptical about the death penalty, and more willing to look at international law for whatever guidance it can provide in resolving fundamental human rights issues."