ON-Lion Letter

In February, a Fulton County Superior Court judge in Georgia dismissed all constitutional aspects of a legal challenge to the state's popular tax-credit scholarship program.  The program allows individuals and corporations to claim a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for their voluntary contributions to private charities, which in turn use the donated funds to provide scholarships for low-income children to attend the private school of their parents' choice.

"The ruling is a huge victory for thousands of families all across the State of Georgia," according to attorney Tim Keller of the Institute for Justice in Arlington, Va., which represents four families who intervened in the lawsuit to defend the scholarship program.  "The parents and students relying on the scholarship program can breathe a sigh of relief.  The constitutional cloud hanging over the program has been lifted."

Judge Kimberly M. Esmond Adams ruled that the plaintiffs in the case, all taxpayers, do not have "standing" to challenge the scholarship tax-credit program because it is funded with private, rather than public funds.  Absent the use of public revenue to fund the program, the plaintiff-taxpayers could not demonstrate that they suffered any harm as a result of the program.

Adams' ruling, however, may not be the last word in the case.  The losing plaintiffs are permitted to appeal the ruling.  If they do appeal, IJ will continue to represent the parents in defense of the program.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports IJ.

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