Thursday, May 04, 2006

7th Circuit Denies En Banc Review In Taxpayer Standing Case

Yesterday , in Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Chao, (7th Cir., May 3, 2006), by a vote of of 7-4, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied en banc review of a 3-judge panel's decision in an Establishment Clause case. At issue was whether taxpayers have standing to challenge purely Executive Branch spending decisions that may promote religion. The panel held that taxpayers had standing to challenge White House spending from a general appropriation to promote President Bush's Faith-Based Initiative, even though Congress had not earmarked the funds for that specific purpose. Judges Flaum and Easterbrook both wrote opinions concurring in the denial of review. Judge Ripple , who was the dissenting member of the panel whose decision was being appealed, wrote a dissent from the denial of review which 3 other judges joined.