Controversial Issues on the Docket
In the consolidated cases of Arizona
Christian School Tuition Org. v. Winn, No. 09-987 and Garriott
v. Winn, No. 09-991, the Court will consider an Arizona law that provides
dollar-for-dollar tax credits for donations to school tuition groups. Because
many religious schools run the school tuition groups and award the scholarships
on condition that the recipients attend a religious school, certain residents
contend the system encourages taxpayers to make donations to religious, as
opposed to nonreligious, organizations. The Court may determine whether the
effects of the Arizona system constitute a violation of the First Amendment,
although the Court must first determine whether the taxpayers have the right to
challenge a state program that does not involve the spending of any tax dollars.
In Sossamon v. Texas,
No. 08-1438, the Court will determine whether an individual may sue a state or
state official for damages under the Religious
Land Use and Institutionalized Person Act, or RLUIPA. Prisoner Harvey
Sossamon filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas and a prison warden,
claiming that he was denied access to a prison chapel in violation of RLUIPA.
The Court will resolve a split among the circuit courts of appeals concerning
whether a state prisoner may file an action under the federal RLUIPA law.