The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday, June 25, that taxpayers affiliated with an atheist group do not have standing to challenge the White House initiative channeling federal funds to religious groups providing social services.

Overturning a federal appeals court decision, the justices gave the White House a 5-4 victory in a closely watched ruling regarding its Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives.

"It has long been established … that the payment of taxes is generally not enough to establish standing to challenge an action taken by the federal government," Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy.

"If every federal taxpayer could sue to challenge any government expenditure, the federal courts would cease to function as courts of law and would be cast in the role of general complaint bureaus," Alito wrote.

The case, Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation, focused on the use of taxpayer money to fund faith-based offices and related conferences across the executive branch.

Foundation members said the policy violated the First Amendment's prohibition on "establishment" of religion, but the White House office argued the case was "intrusive" on the executive branch. In a statement, President Bush said the decision "is a win for the thousands of community and faith-based nonprofits all across the country that have partnered with government at all levels to serve their neighbors.

"Most importantly," Bush said, "it is a win for the many whose lives have been lifted by the caring touch and compassionate hearts of these organizations." The justices were asked to determine if taxpayers—in this case, the Wisconsin-based foundation—had standing to ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current IssueWhy the Church Needs the Infertile Couple
Why the Church Needs the Infertile Couple Subscriber Access Only
We're missing a broader scope of familial love.
RecommendedTrump’s Religious Liberty Order Doesn’t Answer Most Evangelicals’ Prayers
Trump’s Religious Liberty Order Doesn’t Answer Most Evangelicals’ Prayers
Prayer breakfast pledge to ‘totally destroy’ Johnson Amendment comes up shy; conscience exemptions from LGBT anti-discrimination rules missing.
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickSix Ways Men Can Support Women's Discipleship
Six Ways Men Can Support Women's Discipleship
Male clergy and laity who want to enable women's ministry often don't know how to get involved or what to do.
Christianity Today
Supreme Court Turns Down Challenge to Faith-Based Office
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

June 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.