The Burger Court (1969–86)

Court Decisions

CourtSpeak: Bob Jones University Tax-Exempt Status Case (1983)

Chief Justice Warren Burger (concurring): “It would be wholly incompatible with the concepts underlying tax exemption to grant the benefit of tax-exempt status to racially discriminatory educational entities, which ‘exer[t] a pervasive influence on the entire educational process.’ [internal citations deleted] Whatever may be the rationale for such private schools’ policies, and however sincere the rationale may be, racial discrimination in education is contrary to public policy. Racially discriminatory educational institutions cannot be viewed as conferring a public benefit within the ‘charitable’ concept discussed earlier, or within the Congressional intent underlying section 170 and section 501(c)(3).”

Justice William Rehnquist (dissenting): “I have no disagreement with the Court’s finding that there is a strong national policy in this country opposed to racial discrimination. I agree with this Court that Congress has the power to further this policy by denying section 501(c)(3) to organizations that practice racial discrimination. But as of yet Congress has failed to do so. Whatever the reasons for this failure, this Court should not legislate for Congress.”


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Supreme Court Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App