Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I am behind the times (and simultaneously getting ahead of myself and my three note teaser just posted), but am reading Justice Kagen's dissent right now. Only two paragraphs in and I'm on pins and needles! Here's the paragraph that made my little dorky heart do a leap:

This novel distinction in standing law between appropriations and tax expenditures has as little basis in principle as it has in our precedent. Cash grants and targeted tax breaks are means of accomplishing the same government objective—to provide financial support to select individuals or organizations. Taxpayers who oppose state aid of religion have equal reason to protest whether that aid flows from the one form of subsidy or the other. Either way, the government has financed the religious activity. And so either way, taxpayers should be able to challenge the subsidy.

It does, of course, go on from there, but I like it. It's concise, it's logical, and it doesn't ignore reality. Too often, it seems to the non-law school graduate like myself, that lawyers and judges tend to ignore reality. In this case, they start out with reality--that the distinction drawn between a tax credit and a direct subsidy is practically null since they both serve the same purpose--to divert funds to support a group or effort. Anyway, I'll finish reading it and have a full reaction later. But, my point? I haven't read a SCOTUS opinion as exciting in its language and intellectually stimulation in some time!


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