Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation and Taxpayer Standing
46 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2009
Date Written: April 6, 2009
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.
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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