Monday, April 4, 2011

Supreme Court Kicks Open Door to Tax Payer Funding of Religious Schools While Closing Door to Tax Payers for Relief

In a 5-4 decision, the five Roman Catholic* justices affirmed the ability of the Arizona legislature to divert tax payer monies to parochial schools through the use of tax credits while denying the right of tax payers to challenge such diversions.  By denying standing to the plaintiffs in the 14 year old case, the Supreme Court basically closed the door to all tax payers to challenge laws that funnel monies to parochial schools and institutions in breach of the separation of church and state.

A little history, as I understand it.  In Arizona, a person may "donate" monies to a "scholarship" fund that supports students of private and parochial schools.  Those "donated" monies then are reimbursed dollar for dollar up to $1000 in the form of tax credits.  Not tax deductions but tax credits.  The state claims that since they are giving a credit only for the "donation" it is not funding private or parochial schools.

The Supreme Court today, for all intents and purposes, agreed with the state.  But they did so in the insidious manner of denying "standing" to the plaintiffs.  In other words, the 5 conservative justices said "fuck you" to tax payers who feel that the state is willfully breaking through the wall that separates church and state.  The conservatives on the Roberts Court enjoy denying standing when they cannot twist the Constitution enough to support their agenda.  In this particular case, they basically shut the court house door to any tax payer who has a gripe about how tax payer monies are spent.

So, even though my tax payer monies are being spent to support parochial schools, the Supreme Court has ruled that I have no standing to challenge such support.

I guess only the rich, powerful and corporations will now have access to the Roberts Court.

*I use the term "Roman Catholic" to denote that the 5 justices (Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, Kennedy and Alito) are all of the conservative strain of Catholicism.  I am also of the opinion that Roberts, Scalia, Alito and possibly even Thomas are of the Opus Dei strain of Roman Catholics, thus making them ultra-conservative Catholics.  This is not to demean Catholics, but merely to point out that the decisions by the 5 conservative justices often adhere to the orthodoxy of the very conservative strain of Catholicism.

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