Private Education Tax Credits Upheld by U.S. Supreme Court

This may not be the final decision on this question since it just dealt with the question of standing to bring the lawsuit, but it is still a big step in the right direction. It was another very narrowly decided decision that continues to show how the loss of one conservative or moderate justices will have a big impact.

. . . The justices, voting 5-4, today said opponents lacked “standing” to challenge the 14-year-old program, which gives tax credits for donations to organizations that provide private- school scholarships. The opponents faulted the program for relying on religious organizations that require their recipients to enroll in sectarian schools.

The ruling marks the second under Chief Justice John Roberts to insulate government programs from church-state challenges. The court in 2007 threw out a suit over then- President George W. Bush’s faith-based initiatives office.

The case split the court along familiar lines, with the court’s five Republican appointees -- Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito -- in the majority. . . .

The Arizona tax credit applies after taxpayers have computed how much they owe for the previous year. At that point individuals can send as much as $500 to so-called school tuition organizations, reducing their tax liability by the same amount.

The court ruled in 2002 that tax-funded school vouchers are constitutional so long as parents have a “genuine choice” not to send their children to religious schools. . . .

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