Phoenix, Arizona (WiredPRNews.com – Legal News Release) — A U.S. appeals court has upheld a previous ruling saying that tax-payers cannot take legal action against the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs on the grounds of integrating religion into the health-care programs being carried out for the country’s veterans. It has been ruled by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that the Freedom from Religion Foundation based in Madison along with the three members of the group had no legal standing for bringing in the case.
This Foundation had made efforts in the direction of putting an end to the Veteran Affairs Department’s practice of questioning patients in regard to their religion within “spiritual assessments.” Also, the group had been trying to end some of the department’s activities such as their use of chaplains in treating patients, and their alcohol and drug treatment programs which brings in religion.
The group claimed that such practices carried out by the department violated the division of Church and State. However, the Appeals Court has ruled that federal taxpayers cannot question those expenditures. The Appeals Court cited the decision taken by the U.S. Supreme court last year which had not allowed the group to file a lawsuit over a religion-based initiative of President Bush Sr.
In the above-mentioned case of the previous year, the court ruled that tax-payers cannot bring a claim on the executive department for the operating expenses that allegedly encourage religion. The ruling said that cases could only be brought to the court on the pretext of questionable expenditures being overtly sanctioned by the congressional expenditure bill. The seventh Circuit Court ruled that Congress has never approved expenses on the pastoral care, chaplain services or the other programs that have been questioned.
Wired Legal Reporter