I believe this is the ruling you are referring to: http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110411/NEW...
(Note that this source seems to be a bit biased against the ruling.)
One thing I would like to point out is that they did not determine whether this practice is or is not constitutional, only that the taxpayers lacked standing for a case in this particular instance.
So who does having standing to bring a challenge?
I bet if the ratio of private schools was heavily weighted towards secular schools instead of religious based schools, this tax redemption scheme would have never made it on the books.
Is this the case you are talking about? I think it has to be the one. If someone could confirm this.
I found this comment in the Huffingtonpost about the same topic. By Jeff Rosenbury.
The ruling was the only fair ruling possible.
The court had three choices.
It could deny standing which it did.
It could allow standing broadly, which would allow anyone to sue the government over it's spending choices. Thus, if I don't like General Electric, I could sue them because they receive federal money. I could argue there was no due process in the payments. I could examine G.E.'s books and hold their earnings hostage. Further so could you and everyone else in the world.
Finally the court could allow such suits only on religious grounds. Yet this itself would be an entanglement on religious grounds and is not allowed by the doctrine of separation of church and state.
So how do we solve this impasse? Luckily we have two other branches of government. The legislature could do their jobs and not vote money for religious purposes. Failing that the executive could refuse to pay such moneys. Then the religious groups would be forced to sue and standing is established.
That's how checks and balances work.
Another post stated only congress could appoint an extra Judge and not Obama.
I skimmed through the judgment, but it's too complex for me.
Yeah, that seems like a strange argument.
I'm very mixed on this whole issue. While it annoys me how the supreme court avoids certain subjects, I also think "well, better that they avoid it than have this overly conservative court declare that it's okie-dokie to give religious institutions money."
There was a case way back in the day where abolitionists cheered getting a case to the supreme court... until the supreme court declared that blacks were not citizens according to the constitution and therefore had no rights, and furthermore that they were technically property and since property was protected by the constitution, no law could be made to force slave owners to release their slaves.
Sometimes having the supreme court ignore an issue is better than having them rule on it.
My comment wasn't intended to be a judgement of the constitution. Rather, it was an example of how supreme court rulings can sometimes undo years of progress. As such, I would be careful what you wish for.
Yeh, it does seem strange.
Have there ever been any previous cases where governments have been sued for how they spent or didn't spend the peoples money? I'm sure the case must mention such examples. Maybe they gave the money to the religious institution because the money is used for educating kids in schools. Rather than because of religious reasons. (But I haven't read the court transcript, and I don't have the time to do so)