Tuition Tax Credits and Winn: A Constitutional Blueprint for School Choice

13 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2011 Last revised: 25 Mar 2012

Bruce Van Baren

Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Date Written: April 27, 2011

Abstract

The Supreme Court recently paved the way for a new avenue of school choice, refusing to strike down an Arizona tax-credit program that allows Arizonans to direct a portion of their state income tax payments to organizations that support private schools, including religiously affiliated schools. In Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn, a sharply divided Court held that the respondents, Arizona taxpayers, did not have legal standing to challenge the program’s constitutionality under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Although Winn was decided on standing grounds, its consequential holding established a constitutional blueprint for state school choice programs. This article will attempt to gauge the impact of the Court’s decision. First, this Article will detail the Arizona tax-credit program, procedural history leading to the Court’s decision in Winn, and the applicable Supreme Court legal standing and Establishment Clause jurisprudence. Next, this article will discuss the Court’s majority and dissenting opinions, while briefly acknowledging the concurring opinion. This Article will then argue that tax-credit programs do not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Next, this article will analyze the impact of the Court’s decision on education reform. Finally, this article will conclude that Winn is a step forward for school reform.

Keywords: Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization, Winn, School Choice, Voucher, Education Reform, Education, Tax-Credit, Tax, Credit

Suggested Citation

Van Baren, Bruce, Tuition Tax Credits and Winn: A Constitutional Blueprint for School Choice (April 27, 2011). Regent University Law Review, Vol. 24, No. 2, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1824804

Bruce Van Baren (Contact Author)

Loyola University Chicago School of Law ( email )

25 E. Pearson
Room 1041
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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