06/18/2008 - In the Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation decision in June 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court made it more difficult for courts to enforce the Establishment Clause’s restrictions on government funding of religion. In Hein, the high court ruled that unless a legislative body has specifically directed funding to a religious organization or activity, citizens do not have the right as taxpayers to bring a suit in federal court alleging that the funding violates the Establishment Clause. Although the Hein decision was limited to the narrow issue of when taxpayers have legal standing, the ruling has much broader policy implications because, when there is no relevant legislative mandate, executive agencies may fund religious organizations and activities without substantial fear of constitutional litigation.
One year later, how have courts interpreted Hein? How will Hein affect the future direction of lawsuits involving the funding of religion? What insight does Hein provide into how the current Supreme Court justices view church-state litigation?
To discuss these issues, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life invited Alex Luchenitser, senior litigation counsel for Americans United for Separation of Church and State; Chip Lupu, professor of law at The George Washington University Law School; and Walter Weber, senior litigation counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice.
Alex Luchenitser, Senior Litigation Counsel, Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Ira “Chip” Lupu, F. Elwood and Eleanor Davis Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School
Walter Weber, Senior Litigation Counsel, American Center for Law and Justice
Robert Tuttle, David R. and Sherry Kirschner Berz Research Professor of Law and Religion, The George Washington University Law School
Read the complete transcript Hein, One Year Later: The Future of Church-State Litigation on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Web site.