WALZ v. TAX COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
135
Appellee 
Tax Commission of the City of New York
Appellant 
Walz
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the appellant)
(Argued the cause for the appellee)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Frederick Walz, the owner of real estate in Richmond County, New York, brought suit against the New York City Tax Commission, challenging property tax exemptions for churches. Walz alleged that the exemptions forced him, as a taxpayer, to indirectly contribute to those churches.

Question 

Did the property tax exemptions violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 7 votes for Tax Commission of the City of New York, 1 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Establishment of Religion

In a 7-to-1 decision, the Court held that the exemptions did not violate the Establishment Clause. The Court held that the purpose of the exemptions was to neither advance nor inhibit religion; no one particular church or religious group had been singled out to receive tax exempt status. Unlike direct subsidies, which would have unduly entangled the state with religion, tax exemptions created only "minimal and remote involvement between church and state and far less than taxation of churches." The Court noted that "benevolent neutrality" toward churches and religions was "deeply embedded in the fabric of our national life."

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WALZ v. TAX COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 18 April 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1969/1969_135>.
WALZ v. TAX COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1969/1969_135 (last visited April 18, 2014).
"WALZ v. TAX COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed April 18, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1969/1969_135.