Flast v. Cohen

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Flast v. Cohen
Court U.S. Supreme Court
Citation 392 U.S. 83 (1968)
Date decided 1968

Facts

A federal taxpayer challenged the Constitutionality of a federal statute which gave money to religious schools. He claimed that it violates the Establishment and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

Issues

Whether a federal taxpayer has standing to challenge the constitutionality of a federal statute which is claimed to violate federal taxing and spending programs.

Holding

Judgment allowed.

Rule

There is no absolute bar in Article III to suits by federal taxpayers challenging allegedly unconstitutional federal taxing and spending programs.

There are two requirements:

  1. The taxpayer must establish a nexus between that status and the type of legislative enactment attacked.
  2. The taxpayer must establish a nexus between that status and the precise nature of the constitutional infringement alleged

Comments

Dissent:

The court’s standard for the determination of standing and its criteria for the satisfaction of that standard are entirely unrelated.