Bush Seeks High Court Ruling to Halt FFRF “Faith-based” Challenge

The Bush Administration is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop a Freedom From Religion Foundation lawsuit from proceeding. The lawsuit challenges the creation of faith-based” offices at the White House and other Cabinet-level agencies.

The administration filed its request to appeal the case in mid-August, contending that the Foundation, through its taxpayer plaintiffs (Anne Gaylor, Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor), does not have standing to sue.

Although a federal judge dismissed the Foundation’s 2004 lawsuit against the faith-based offices, contending it had no standing to sue, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this year reinstated the case.

In May, the entire panel of the 7th Circuit refused the administration’s request to rehear the case, thereby permitting the Foundation lawsuit to continue. However, several appeals court judges weighing in on both sides strongly suggested the “standing” question should be decided by the Supreme Court.

At issue is the right of taxpayers to challenge unconstitutional actions by the executive office which are not directly funded by Congress. Bush used general appropriations to set up the various offices, which were established by executive order, not by Congress. If taxpayers do not have the right to challenge such executive actions, executive abuses of the Establishment Clause could be forever beyond the review of courts.

The Supreme Court should indicate by the end of the year whether it will accept or reject the appeal.

Freedom From Religion Foundation