Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation and Taxpayer Standing

Preston C. Green

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Joseph Oluwole


April 6, 2009

Wayne Law Review, Vol. 54, No. 3, 2008

On June 25, 2007, the United States Supreme Court made an important decision on taxpayer standing in Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. In this case, federal taxpayers challenged use of federal funds to support faith-based initiatives. The Court had to determine the scope of the narrow exception to taxpayer standing created in Flast v. Cohen, discussed herein, which allows taxpayer suits to challenge government action as violative of the Establishment Clause. While the Court held that the challenge did not fall within the ambit of the narrow Flast exception to the prohibition of taxpayer suits, the decision is not as simple as the holding suggests. In fact, as has obtained for nearly a century of exposition of the standing doctrine by scholars and judges, there was disagreement among the Supreme Court Justices in Hein on the essence of taxpayer standing. We will examine the nuances of Hein in this article as well as the implications of the decision for taxpayer suits against school districts.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 46

Keywords: taxpayer standing, constitutional law, constitution, Flast, Cohen, Establishment Clause, standing, rights, religion, tax, policy, religious, faith-based, faith, school, education, district, school district, Supreme Court, federal court, state court, court, litigant, Flast v. Cohen, prudential

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Date posted: June 10, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Green, Preston C. and Oluwole, Joseph, Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation and Taxpayer Standing (April 6, 2009). Wayne Law Review, Vol. 54, No. 3, 2008. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1415503

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Preston C. Green
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
Joseph Oluwole (Contact Author)
Independent ( email )
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