Two Supreme Court rulings signal the impact of President Bush’s two new justices. First this:
New Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito broke a tie Monday to rule that Kansas' death penalty law is constitutional.
By a 5-to-4 vote, the justices said the Kansas Supreme Court incorrectly interpreted the Eighth Amendment's protection against cruel and unusual punishment to strike down the state's death penalty statute.
The dissenters, the four liberal members of the high court, bitterly complained about the decision.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Vermont's limits on contributions and spending in political campaigns are too restrictive and improperly hinder the ability of candidates to raise money and speak to voters.
In a fractured set of opinions, justices said they were not sweeping aside 30 years of election finance precedent but rather finding only that Vermont's law - the strictest in the nation - sets limits that unconstitutionally hamstring candidates.
The majority took issue with Vermont legislators for "constraining speech" by telling candidates and voters how much campaigning was enough.
President Bush's two appointees to the court - Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito - sided with the majority in overturning Vermont's law.