The Supreme Court let stand an Arizona program that aids religious schools , saying in a 5-to-4 decision that the plaintiffs had no standing to challenge it:
The program itself is novel and complicated, and allowing it to go forward may be of no particular moment. But by closing the courthouse door to some kinds of suits that claim violations of the First Amendments ban on government establishment of religion, the courts ruling in the case may be quite consequential.
Justice Elena Kagan, in her first dissent, said the majority had laid waste to the doctrine of taxpayer standing, which allows suits from people who object to having tax money spent on religious matters. The courts opinion, Justice Kagan wrote, offers a road map more truly, just a one-step instruction to any government that wishes to insulate its financing of religious activity from legal challenge.
Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedyonce again providing the swing votemakes a great point:
Awarding some citizens a tax credit allows other citizens to retain control over their own funds in accordance with their own consciences, Justice Kennedy wrote for himself, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.
The plaintiffs position, Justice Kennedy wrote, assumes that income should be treated as if it were government property even if it has not come into the tax collectors hands. But, he added, private bank accounts cannot be equated with the Arizona State Treasury.