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Allen v. Wright and Donald T. Regan v. Inez Wright

Significance, Questions Of Standing, Impact, Related Cases, Class Action Lawsuits


W. Wayne Allen, Donald T. Regan


Inez Wright, et al.

Petitioners' Claim

Petitioners claimed that although the suit sought declaratory and injunctive relief, the respondents did not have sufficient standing to bring suit since their children never applied for admission to any private school.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioners

Rex E. Lee, U.S. Solicitor General in case No. 81-970, and William J. Landers II, in case No. 81-757

Chief Lawyer for Respondents

Robert H. Kapp

Justices for the Court

Warren E. Burger, Sandra Day O'Connor (writing for the Court), Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., John Paul Stevens (Thurgood Marshall did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

3 July 1984


The U.S. Supreme Court held that the respondents (parents of African American public school students in seven states undergoing desegregation) lacked standing to bring suit alleging that the IRS had not fulfilled its obligations regarding the denial of tax-exempt status to private schools that practiced racial discrimination with respect to student enrollment.


Hooper, Laural L. , Robert J. Niemic, and Thomas E. Willging. Empirical Study of Class Actions in Four Federal District Courts. Washington, DC: Federal Judicial Center, 1996.

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1996.
  • Mello, Michael. "Defunding Death." American Criminal Law Review, summer 1995, p. 933.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988