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Flast v Cohen

392 US 83
6/10/1968
Facts of the case:
The Appellant, including Flast (Appellants), brought suit, claiming standing solely as taxpayers,
seeking to enjoin expenditure of federal funds on religious schools. Appellants claimed such
expenditures violated the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment of the
United States Constitution (Constitution).
Congress had funded, under Titles I and II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of
1965 (the Act), writing, arithmetic, and other subjects in religious schools. Appellants brought
suit, claiming that these expenditures violated the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the
First Amendment of the Constitution. The only claim to standing provided was that all
Appellants were taxpayers.
Issue:
Whether or not the Appellants established standing to bring suit in an Article III court.
Held:
Yes.
Ratio:
The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) states that standing refers to the
plaintiff(s) having a personal stake in the outcome of the case. In the taxpayer context, the
Supreme Court outlines two requirements to show this personal stake.
The first requirement is that the taxpayer must challenge the constitutionality only of exercises
under the taxing and spending clause of the Constitution. Expenditures which are incidental to a
regulatory statute or other incidental expenditures do not give rise to taxpayer standing.
The second requirement is that the moving party must allege that Congress acted beyond the
scope of a particular constitutional provision. It is insufficient to allege spending beyond the
powers delegated under Art. I, Section: 8 of the Constitution.
Flast v Cohen
392 US 83
Facts of the case:
The Appellant, including Flast (Appellants), brought suit, claiming standing solely as taxpayers,
seeking to enjoin expenditure of federal funds on religious schools. Appellants claimed such
expenditures violated the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment of the
United States Constitution (Constitution).

Congress had funded, under Titles I and II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of
1965 (the Act), writing, arithmetic, and other subjects in religious schools. Appellants brought
suit, claiming that these expenditures violated the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the
First Amendment of the Constitution. The only claim to standing provided was that all
Appellants were taxpayers.
Issue:
Whether or not the Appellants established standing to bring suit in an Article III court.
Held:
Yes.
Ratio:
The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) states that standing refers to the
plaintiff(s) having a personal stake in the outcome of the case. In the taxpayer context, the
Supreme Court outlines two requirements to show this personal stake.
The first requirement is that the taxpayer must challenge the constitutionality only of exercises
under the taxing and spending clause of the Constitution. Expenditures which are incidental to a
regulatory statute or other incidental expenditures do not give rise to taxpayer standing.
The second requirement is that the moving party must allege that Congress acted beyond the
scope of a particular constitutional provision. It is insufficient to allege spending beyond the
powers delegated under Art. I, Section: 8 of the Constitution.