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Valley Forge College v. Americans United


The Valley Forge case centered on when taxpayers may challenge government spending in courts. As demonstrated by the sharply divided vote, the Court did not easily recognize collective public complaints. Individuals must establish personal standing to represent public interest. Court actions in the 1990s maintained these strict standards for standing. In April of 1998 the Supreme Court heard arguments in NEA v. Finley concerning standards imposed by Congress on fellowships and grants given by the National Endowment of the Arts. Identification of any precise injury to specific individuals were initial points the Court debated before considering whether to tackle First Amendment censorship questions. A taxpayer issue in the late 1990s was Congressional efforts to authorize spending public funds on private schools, many of which are parochial, through a special voucher, or coupon, system.

Congressional watchdog groups composed of taxpayers, such as People for the American Way, multiplied significantly in the 1990s. Such groups fear if important questions are left to elections rather than the courts, constitutional "relativism" would follow, resulting in fundamental rights changing with public mood swings. A broadening of standing by courts would possibly allow resolution of fundamental constitutional issues in the courts before national crises escalate, politically dividing the country.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988Valley Forge College v. Americans United - Significance, Taxpayer Standing, Right To Sue, Impact