June 5, 2012
Another Legal Challenge To Public Crosses Fails Over Taxpayer Standing
Supreme Court rulings which felled high-profile legal challenge to clergy housing allowance also undercut atheist's challenge to Illinois' Bald Knob Cross.
Legal challenges related to religious symbols in public settings continue to be dismissed over issues of taxpayer standing.
Yesterday the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed an atheist activist's attempt to stop state funding of the restoration of Bald Knob Cross, an Illinois tourist attraction, because the activist lacks taxpayer standing according to recent Supreme Court decisions. In Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation Inc., the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that taxpayers can bring Establishment Clause challenges when funds are spent under legislative decisions but not administrative decisions, explains Religion Clause.
This limitation on church-state lawsuits was strengthened when the Supreme Court dismissed a challenge in April 2011 to Arizona's tax-credit-for-scholarship-donations program. CT reported how the Arizona ruling undercut a high-profile legal challenge to the longstanding housing allowance enjoyed by clergy. The Seventh Circuit also rejected a challenge to the National Day of Prayer in April 2011 over issues of taxpayer standing.
CT has spotlighted Supreme Court tussles over public crosses, as well as debate over whether memorial crosses should be considered secular.