During the 2006-2007 Term, the United States Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether federal taxpayers have standing to challenge the constitutionality of executive expenditures that allegedly violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. In Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc., the plaintiffs, asserting standing based on their status as federal taxpayers, objected to the use of congressional appropriations to fund a faith-based program created by President George W. Bush as a violation of the Establishment Clause. Although no single analysis commanded five votes, a majority of the Court agreed to dismiss the case for lack of standing. In so holding, the Court interpreted the test for taxpayer standing in a way that treats congressional funds that are distributed pursuant to congressional authority differently than congressional funds that are distributed pursuant to executive authority. This inconsistent treatment of congressional and executive action for standing purposes has both practical implications for practitioners preparing their course of action in First Amendment cases and conceptual implications for those interested in the government's relationship with religion.
Quinlan, Patricia Mary
"Standing Room Only: Federal Taxpayers Denied Standing to Challenge President's Faith-Based Programs in Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc.,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 59
, Article 18.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol59/iss4/18