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Walz v. Tax Commission

Significance, Separation Of Church And State, Further Readings


Frederick Walz


New York Tax Commission

Appellant's Claim

That a New York state property tax exemption granted to religious organizations constituted governmental establishment of religion, thus violating the First Amendment.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Edward J. Ennis

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

J. Lee Rankin

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black, Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger (writing for the Court), John Marshall Harlan II, Thurgood Marshall, Potter Stewart, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

William O. Douglas


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

4 May 1970


That the tax exemption did not constitute an establishment of religion and that it in fact avoided excessive entanglement between church and state, thus maintaining separation between the two.

Related Cases

  • Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947).
  • Zorach v. Clausen, 343 U.S. 306 (1952).
  • Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957).
  • Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962).
  • School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963).
  • Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971).


Eastland, Terry. Religious Liberty in the Supreme Court. Washington, DC: Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1993.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972