Listen & Download

On April 4, 2011, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn. In Arizona, there is a state program that offers a tax credit to people who make contributions to school tuition organizations (STOs). STOs use the contributions to provide scholarships to students who attend private schools, including religious schools. The questions in this case were 1) does a taxpayer have standing to challenge the state's tax credit program as a violation of the Establishment Clause and 2) does the state's tax credit program violate the Establishment Clause.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Kennedy, the Court held by a vote of 5-4 that the taxpayers lacked Article III standing to challenge the program. Furthermore, because the taxpayers lacked Article III standing, the Court did not reach the question of whether the tax credit program violated the Establishment Clause. Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito joined Justice Kennedy's opinion. In addition, Justice Scalia filed a concurring opinion, which Justice Thomas joined. Justice Kagan filed a dissenting opinion, which Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor joined.

To discuss the case, we have Joshua P. Thompson, who is a staff attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation. Mr. Thompson was on an amicus brief in support of the petitioners.

[Return to the SCOTUScast menu]