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Whose money is it?

Posted by Richard on November 5, 2010

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in another important Institute for Justice case, Wynn v. Garriott. I haven't been keeping up with all of IJ's fine work lately and was unfamiliar with this case, which made its way to the Supremes after the 9th Circuit reversed a ruling that the suit was frivolous.

But over at Big Government, Adam B. Schaeffer made it clear why this case is extremely important: 

The 9th Circuit’s reasoning arrogates to the state all property , dissolving the distinction between public and private funds as well as public and private choices. It is a disturbing, dangerous decision.

They assert that tax cuts are the equivalent of government funds, a conclusion possible only if one assumes that all personal income belongs by default to the state rather than to the individual who earned the money. It asserts as well that when taxpayers and parents privately choose to support religious educational organizations, they are in violation of the First Amendment. This reasoning blatantly ignores the logic and plain meaning of the 2002 Zelman decision upholding school vouchers, among others.

Here is a prediction; the court will have their absurd ruling on an Arizona education tax credit program posted on the wall of judicial shame like so many others issued from their Circuit.

But I want more from the Court. This ruling is so awful that I can only pray SCOTUS rules beyond the questionable standing of the plaintiffs and comprehensively dismembers this most egregious 9th Circuit decision.

The Obama administration has weighed in on the right side, according to the WaPo article linked above. But I suspect their motives. Acting Solicitor General Neal K. Katyal (to the apparent surprise of his former boss, Justice Kagan) argued that the taxpayers challenging Arizona's tax credit for private education donations didn't have standing to bring their suit.

I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that the Obama administration fervently hopes this case is decided on the standing issue and not on the merits because a decision on the merits is almost certainly going to go against one of their cherished, bedrock philosophical beliefs: that the government ultimately owns and controls everything.

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