FLAST v. COHEN

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
416
Appellee 
Cohen
Appellant 
Flast
Opinion 
Advocates
(Argued the cause for Americans for Public Schools et al., as amici curiae, urging reversal)
(Argued the cause for the appellants)
(Argued the cause for the appellees)
Tags
Term:
Location: Congress
Facts of the Case 

Florence Flast and a group of taxpayers challenged federal legislation that financed the purchase of secular textbooks for use in religious schools. Flast argued that such use of tax money violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. A district court held that the federal courts should defer when confronted with taxpayer suits directed against federal spending programs.

Question 

Did Flast, as a taxpayer, have standing to sue the government's spending program?

Conclusion 
Decision: 8 votes for Flast, 1 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Article 3, Section 2, Paragraph 1: Case or Controversy Requirement

In an 8-to-1 decision, the Court rejected the government's argument that the constitutional scheme of separation of powers barred taxpayer suits against federal taxing and spending programs. In order to prove a "requisite personal stake" in such cases, taxpayers had to 1) establish a logical link between their status as taxpayers and the type of legislative enactment attacked, and 2) show the challenged enactment exceeded specific constitutional limitations imposed upon the exercise of Congressional taxing and spending power. The Court held that Flast had met both parts of the test.

Cite this Page
FLAST v. COHEN. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 10 September 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1967/1967_416>.
FLAST v. COHEN, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1967/1967_416 (last visited September 10, 2014).
"FLAST v. COHEN," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 10, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1967/1967_416.