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U.S. Supreme Court decision - Essay Example

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In April, advocates for parental choice in education scored a major victory in the precedent-setting case before the United States Supreme Court, American Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn. …
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Download file to see previous pages In April, advocates for parental choice in education scored a major victory in the precedent-setting case before the United States Supreme Court, American Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn. The court ruled by a narrow 5-4 margin that the Arizona program promoting school choice can continue − dismissing a lawsuit waged by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of taxpayers who disliked the program. The ruling favored arguments made by the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal organization that defended ACSTO over the years. The concurring justices found that taxpayers have no standing to challenge the program because the contributions going toward tax credits are private funds − not government funds (Liptak, 2011). ACSTO, like many other programs in the U.S., gives state residents the ability to receive a tax credit for contributions to private organizations that provide private schools with scholarships. This ruling has wide-ranging effects across the governmental, political, and structural spheres of America.The ACSTO decision will greatly impact the way state governmental entities deal with programs similar to ACSTO across the country. Now that such programs will be recognized as legitimate, due to U.S. Supreme Court precedent, state institutions will no longer be able to easily keep state residents from freely donating their money to organizations that help parents send their children to the private schools of their choice. Also, elected, appointed, and/or career policymakers, such as the U.S. Supreme Court Justices who presided over this case ? as well as lawmakers, senators, governors and mayors ? will be making more and more decisions based on the precedent set in this case regarding the use of private funds donated to generate tax credits. Now, bureaucracies will not be allowed to strike down such contributions within the states that adopt the precedent set in Arizona. On the political level, the ACSTO decision has many far-reaching ramifications. Political parties, interest groups, and unions that are generally opposed to religious organizations receiving funding in the form of tax credits generated from private contributions will have their hands tied when opposing such programs. Leftist social movements opposed to private schools will now have a more difficult time shutting down programs resembling ACSTO. Also, with the case’s national attention, 2012 presidential election campaigns and voters agreeing with the decision will more likely take a stance on the parental choice issue. With the extensive media coverage, public opinion was likely swayed in one way or the other. Many were likely swayed by the executive director of the special interest group Americans United for the Separation, Rev. Barry Lynn, who said that the court “has slammed the courthouse door in the face of Americans who don’t want their tax dollars to subsidize religion (Biskupic, 2011). On the other hand, those with conservative ideals were likely influenced by media statements made by Tim Keller, executive director of the Institute of Justice’s Arizona chapter, who saw the victory as rebuffing “efforts by school choice opponents to use the courts to halt programs that empower families to chose a private school education if that is where their child’s needs will be best served (Biskupic, 2011).” The political climate on education has undergone a shift since the decision. Furthermore, the structural forces that hold our nation together, such as the U.S. Constitution, state constitutions, state laws, our federalist system, and the economy, can all be affected in some way by the ACSTO ruling. To accommodate such program funding, federal and state constitutions can be amended, laws can be changed, and the economy can be reshaped, as tax credits up to $500 for donations to groups funding religious schools redistributes much money (Weiss, 2011). The decision could also spur a demographic shift, as families ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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