|For Immediate Release
April 5, 2011
Manassas, VA – NRB applauds yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn. This pivotal 5-4 decision reversed a Ninth Circuit Court ruling and eliminates an “easy pass” given to radical secularists for the last 40 years to challenge church/state relations. In this particular case, that means that parents seeking to apply state tuition tax credits toward tuition for private religious schools won’t be bothered with “taxpayer” challenges to those school choice plans. This new ruling will also likely apply to a wide range of other church/state challenges.
“I am delighted that the Supreme Court has narrowed considerably an unfortunate ruling from a 1968 case that, for four decades, has permitted secularists to flood our courts with separation-of-church-and-state lawsuits on the thinnest possible ‘standing’ basis: merely alleging that they are ‘taxpayers’,” said NRB Sr. Vice President & General Counsel Craig Parshall. “Now they actually have to prove that they have been harmed in some way, just like any other party in any other federal lawsuit. This will cut down these on kinds of anti-religious challenges considerably.”
“From this point on, such plaintiffs seeking to shut down cooperation between public institutions and religion must show a ‘direct’ connection between their tax dollars and the benefits allegedly received by religious groups by reason of government policies, a very high hurdle indeed,” continued Parshall. “Justice Elena Kagan, recently appointed by President Barack Obama, authored a vociferous dissent, warning that this Supreme Court decision ‘devastates’ taxpayer standing in Establishment Clause cases. My hope and prayer is that she is right.”
NRB’s Office of the General Counsel advances the association’s interests in matters pertaining to First Amendment freedoms and relevant media policy issues, including overseeing the John Milton Project for Religious Free Speech.
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