New York, NY, April 4, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called the Supreme Court's decision limiting the right of ordinary citizens to challenge government expenditures that support religion "a significant setback for religious liberty in America."
In its 5-4 decision in Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn, the high court not only upheld Arizona's tuition tax credit program, but also curtailed the right of citizens to challenge such programs. ADL joined with Americans United and others in filing a brief in the case.
Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:
The distinction the court drew in this case between tax credits and treasury expenditures is illogical and misguided. However, what is more disturbing about the ruling is that the Supreme Court has dramatically undercut the ability of taxpayers to protect religion and government by intervening when government money is improperly spent. This is a very significant setback for religious liberty in America.
Separation of church and state is the bedrock of religious liberty in America. Justices, scholars and historians have long warned of the dangers of intertwined and enmeshed government and religion. Because of this danger, the Supreme Court had previously given ordinary citizens the right to challenge government expenditures that support religion. Unfortunately, that protection has now been significantly eroded.