Even Judges Get Confused

Published October 1, 1999

In penning the Arizona Supreme Court’s majority decision in Kotterman v. Killian earlier this year, upholding the constitutionality of tax credits for education scholarship donations, Chief Justice Thomas A. Zlaket took his fellow Justice Stanley Feldman to task for confusing direct and indirect support of religious schools.

In a harshly worded dissent, Feldman had warned that, if the court’s decision stands, “this state and every other will be able to use the taxing power to direct unrestricted aid to support religious instruction and observance, thus destroying any pretense of separation of church and state.”

Zlaket scolded Feldman for presenting “so many” statements like this that “wrongly [give] the impression that private schools, rather than scholarship recipients, are the primary beneficiaries of contributions.”