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View Diary: SCOTUS: No Bong Hits 4 Jesus (305 comments)

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  •  As I said in an earlier diary, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, Norm DePlume, Justus

    I'm hoping someone with knowledge can explain who exactly WOULD have standing to sue to overturn that law.  I can understand the argument for why an average taxpayer doesn't, but I figure somebody must have standing.

    •  Taxpayer standing is a fairly muddled topic (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, noweasels, I

      I'll try to come up with a comprehensible summary.

      David Broder is journalism's Alberto Gonzales. Richard Cohen is its Michael Brown.

      by litigatormom on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 10:08:40 AM PDT

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      •  Another 5-4 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Norm DePlume

        Scalia and Thomas would have completely done away with Flast.  Alito, Roberts, and Kennedy came to the nonsensical conclusion that Flast doesn't apply to expenditures by the Executive unless pursuant to an express Congressional authorization for an expenditure (i.e., one law applies to Congress, another to the Executive...hmmm...where does that leave an expenditure by the Vice President's office that violates the Establishment clause?).

        Souter wrote a dissent, joined by Stevens, Breyer, and Ginsburg.

        http://www.supremecourtus.gov/...

        "This machine kills fascists"--words on Woody Guthrie's guitar

        by Old Left Good Left on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 10:49:24 AM PDT

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      •  good on you, litigatormom (0+ / 0-)

        ACK!

        1-20-09 The Darkness Ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora.

        by noweasels on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 11:36:00 AM PDT

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    •  Taxpayer standing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      I

      As OldManGoodLeft points out below, the seminal case on taxpayer standing is Flast v. Cohen. "Standing" is a concept that requires a plaintiff challenging either government or private sector action to have a financial or legal stake in the outcome of the litigation.  In other words, you can't sue someone just to make a point; you have to have some tangible interest in the outcome. Flast and its progeny have held that, at least in some circumstances, taxpayers have the requisite stake in the outcome of the litigation against the government because they are being taxed to fund objectionable programs.

      The Supreme Court held today that Flast is limited to taxpayer objections to CONGRESSIONAL abuse of its taxing power, where Congress expressly appropriates taxpayer funds to pay for programs that support religious objectives.  The Supreme Court said that Flast should not be "extended" to cover "faith-based" programs established by the Executive Branch, because the funds used by the Executive Branch were allocated to it under a general use appropriation by Congress, and were not designated by Congress for any particular use. Thus, no abuse by Congress of its taxation power. The Supreme Court reached this conclusion despite the fact that Congress taxes people to pay for the general use appropriations it allocates to the Executive Branch.

      So, this is another victory for the Unitary Executive, as well as the religious wingnuts. The Unitary Executive, using general purpose funds, may support religious objectives with impunity. Only CONGRESS is forbidden to use tax revenues to violate the Establishment Clause. For taxpayers to be able to challenge Unitary Executive action would unleash a parade of horribles -- imagine, suing the Unitary Executive for speaking at a religious conference! -- while the taxpayers' litany of potentially harmful consequences of the Unitary Executive's actions -- imagine, the Unitary Executive creating a Religion Czar! -- was dismissed as mere speculation. The Unitary Executive can violate it with impunity, so long as avoids asking Congress for an appropriation specifically to fund a"faith-based" program it wants to support.

      Ay, caramba!  Oy vey! C'est merde!

      David Broder is journalism's Alberto Gonzales. Richard Cohen is its Michael Brown.

      by litigatormom on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 11:49:31 AM PDT

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