Campaign Confidential

Supreme Court Hobbles Taxpayer Church-State Suits

By Jennifer Siegel

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The Supreme Court dealt a blow to church-state watchdogs this morning with its ruling in the Hein v. Freedom From Religion Case. In a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Alito, the Court ruled that the Freedom From Religion Foundation does not have the legal right to challenge the use of government funds by the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives.

On the surface, the case was about the scope of a current exemption that gives any taxpayer the standing to bring First Amendment cases. But it is worth noting that Justices Thomas and Scalia, who concurred in Alito’s ruling, would have gone even further, and repealed the taxpayer exemption completely.

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