Supreme Court Allows Ariz. School Tax Break

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It was a victory for private giving to private schools after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on an Arizona case Monday.

In a 5-to-4 ruling, the justices said that Arizona taxpayers who filed a lawsuit to block the tax break have no legal claim because they are not forced to contribute to the state program that sends money to the religious schools.

The American Civil Liberties Union represented the plantiffs attempting to block the tax break. 

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing the majority opinion, rejected the idea that the money at issue belongs to the state.

"Contributions result from the decisions of private taxpayers regarding their own funds," he wrote.

Supporters of the tax breaks warned a ruling in the other direction would have someday been used to kill off tax breaks for charitable donations to anything of a religious nature.

"Giving to churches would be unconstitutional because the government's money would be going to the church. And so their argument is incredible in the idea of them thinking the government owns all of our money," Kelly Shackelford, the president and chief executive officer of the Liberty Institute said.

"And number two, the result would be incredible in that it would strike down giving to any religious organization or church," Shackelford added. 

Justice Elena Kagan dissented, along with three other liberal justices.

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