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The origins of such exemptions lie in the special privileges that have long been extended to charitable trusts. More than a century ago, this Court announced the caveat that is critical in this case: [I]t has now become an established principle of American law that courts of chancery will sustain and protect .

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or educational purposes" are entitled to tax exemption. 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." at 469. Even more significant is the fact that both Reports focus on this Court's affirmance of at 7-8, and n. These references in congressional Committee Reports on an enactment denying tax exemptions to racially discriminatory private social clubs cannot be read [p602] other than as indicating approval of the standards applied to racially discriminatory private schools by the IRS subsequent to 1970, and specifically of Revenue Ruling 71-447. Surely Congress had no thought of affording such an unthinking, wooden meaning to § 170 and § 501(c)(3) as to provide tax benefits to "educational" organizations that do not serve a public, charitable purpose. In 1894, when the first charitable exemption provision was enacted, racially segregated educational institutions would not have been regarded as against public policy. 664, 673 (1970), we observed: Qualification for tax exemption is not perpetual or immutable; some tax-exempt groups lose that status when their activities take them outside the classification and new entities can come into being and qualify for exemption. But, unlike the Court, I am convinced that Congress simply has failed to take this action and, as this Court has said over and over again, regardless of our view on the propriety of Congress' failure to legislate, we are not constitutionally empowered to act for it. With undeniable clarity, Congress has explicitly defined the requirements for § 501(c)(3) status. organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals; . The first general income tax law was passed by Congress in the form of the Tariff Act of 1894. The income tax portion of the 1894 Act was held unconstitutional by this Court, 158 U. 601 (1895), but a similar exemption appeared in the Tariff Act of 1909 which imposed a tax on corporate income. And again, in the direct predecessor of § 501(c)(3), a tax exemption was provided for any corporation or association organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, or educational purposes, [p616] no part of the net income of which inures to the benefit of any private stockholder or individual. I have little doubt that neither the "Fagin School for Pickpockets" nor a school training students for guerrilla warfare and terrorism in other countries would meet the definitions contained in the regulations. In 1970, the IRS was sued by parents of black public school children seeking to enjoin the IRS from according tax-exempt status under § 501(c)(3) to private schools in Mississippi that discriminated against blacks. 997 (1971), and in the face of a preliminary injunction, [p620] the IRS changed its position and adopted the view of the plaintiffs. Perhaps recognizing the lack of support in the statute itself, or in its history, for the 1970 IRS change in interpretation, the Court finds that "[t]he actions of Congress since 1970 leave no doubt that the IRS reached the correct conclusion in exercising its authority," concluding that there is "an unusually strong case of legislative acquiescence in and ratification by implication of the 19 rulings." 381 U. The Court next asserts that "Congress affirmatively manifested its acquiescence in the IRS policy when it enacted the present § 501(i) of the Code," a provision that "denies tax-exempt status to social clubs whose charters or policy statements [p621] provide for" racial discrimination. Quite to the contrary, it seems to me that, in § 501(i), Congress showed that, when it wants to add a requirement prohibiting racial discrimination to one of the tax-benefit provisions, it is fully aware of how to do it. The Court points out that, in proposing his amendment, Congressman Ashbrook stated: "‘My amendment very clearly indicates on its face that all the regulations in existence as of August 22, 1978, would not be touched.'" The Court fails to note that Congressman Ashbrook also said: The IRS has no authority to create public policy. I agree with the Court that Congress has the power to further this policy by denying § 501(c)(3) status to organizations that practice racial discrimination.

Because of this admissions policy, the IRS revoked the University's tax-exempt status. C Petitioners contend that, regardless of whether the IRS properly concluded that racially discriminatory private schools violate public policy, only Congress can alter the scope of § 170 and § 501(c)(3). This contention presents claims not heretofore considered by this Court in precisely this context. The state may justify a limitation on religious liberty by showing that it is essential to accomplish an overriding governmental interest. The Court found no constitutional infirmity in "excluding [Jehovah's Witness children] from doing there what no other children may do." Denial of tax benefits will inevitably have a substantial [p604] impact on the operation of private religious schools, but will not prevent those schools from observing their religious tenets. 30, 35 (1958), in which this Court referred to "the presumption against congressional intent to encourage violation of declared public policy" in upholding the Commissioner's disallowance of deductions claimed by a trucking company for fines it paid for violations of state maximum weight laws. In view of our conclusion that racially discriminatory private schools violate fundamental public policy and cannot be deemed to confer a benefit on the public, we need not decide whether an organization providing a public benefit and otherwise meeting the requirements of § 501(c)(3) could nevertheless be denied tax-exempt status if certain of its activities violated a law or public policy. Section 501(c)(3) provides tax-exempt status for: Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office. The Court first seeks refuge from the obvious reading of § 501(c)(3) by turning to § 170 of the Internal Revenue Code, which provides a tax deduction for contributions made to § 501(c)(3) organizations. For this reason, I would reverse the Court of Appeals.

Goldsboro has for the most part accepted only Caucasians. [p600] Ordinarily, and quite appropriately, courts are slow to attribute significance to the failure of Congress to act on particular legislation. Exhaustive hearings have been held on the issue at various times since then. Not one of these bills has emerged from any committee, although Congress has enacted numerous other amendments to § 501 during this same period, including an amendment to § 501(c)(3) itself. The Government suggested that these actions were therefore moot. The Government continues to assert that the IRS lacked authority to promulgate Revenue Ruling 71-447, and does not defend that aspect of the rulings below. 509, Liles & Blum, Development of the Federal Tax Treatment of Charities, 39 Law & Contemp. This assertion dissolves when one sees that § 501(c)(3) and § 170 are construed together, as they must be. We need not consider whether Congress intended to incorporate into the Internal Revenue Code any aspects of charitable trust law other than the requirements of public benefit and a valid public purpose. 601 (1895), for reasons unrelated to the charitable exemption provision. A similar exemption has been included in every income tax Act since the adoption of the Sixteenth Amendment, beginning with the Revenue Act of 1913, ch.

On occasion, however, the school has accepted children from racially mixed marriages in which one of the parents is Caucasian. 30, 1979; replaced by similar provisions in the Emergency School Aid Act of 1978, Pub. Before this Court ruled on that motion, however, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit enjoined the Government from granting § 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status to any school that discriminates on the basis of race. The predecessor of § 170 originally was enacted in 1917, as part of the War Revenue Act of 1917, ch. 330, whereas the predecessor of 501(c)(3) dates back to the income tax law of 1894, Act of Aug. The dissent acknowledges that the two sections are "mirror" provisions; surely there can be no doubt that the Court properly looks to § 170 to determine the meaning of § 501(c)(3). The draftsmen of the 1894 income tax law, which included the first charitable exemption provision, relied heavily on English concepts of taxation, and the list of exempt organizations appears to have been patterned upon English income tax statutes. The terms of that exemption were, in substance, included in the corporate income tax contained in the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act of 1909, ch.

It is apparent that Congress intended that list to have the same meaning in both [p587] sections. These statements clearly reveal the legal background against which Congress enacted the first charitable exemption statute in 1894: charities were to be given preferential treatment because they provide a benefit to society.

In § 170, Congress used the list of organizations in defining the term "charitable contributions." On its face, therefore, § 170 reveals that Congress' intention was to provide tax benefits to organizations serving charitable purposes. to public charitable uses, which has long been recognized as a leading authority in this country, Lord Mac Naghten stated: "Charity," in its legal sense, comprises four principal divisions: trusts for the relief of poverty; trusts 4 A. What little floor debate occurred on the charitable exemption provision of the 1894 Act and similar sections of later statutes leaves no doubt that Congress deemed the specified organizations entitled to tax benefits because they served desirable public purposes. In floor debate on a similar provision in 1917, for example, Senator Hollis articulated the rationale: For every dollar that a man contributes for these public charities, educational, scientific, or otherwise, the public gets 100 per cent.

The District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina decided the action on cross-motions for summary judgment. Accordingly, the court entered summary judgment for the IRS on its counterclaim. In 1861, this Court stated that a public charitable use must be "consistent with local laws and public policy," When the Government grants exemptions or allows deductions all taxpayers are affected; the very fact of the exemption or deduction for the donor means that other taxpayers can be said to be indirect and vicarious "donors." Charitable exemptions are justified on the basis that the exempt entity confers a public benefit -- a benefit which the society or the community may not itself choose or be able to provide, or which supplements and advances the work of public institutions already supported by tax revenues. Other sections of that Act, and numerous enactments since then, testify to the public policy against racial discrimination. Simon, The Tax-Exempt Status of Racially Discriminatory Religious Schools, 36 Tax L.

The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed, 644 F.2d 879 (1981) (per curiam). or educational purposes" are entitled to tax exemption. History buttresses [p592] logic to make clear that, to warrant exemption under § 501(c)(3), an institution must fall within a category specified in that section and must demonstrably serve and be in harmony with the public interest.

That court found an "identity for present purposes" between the and we affirm in each. organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable . Petitioners argue that the plain language of the statute guarantees them tax-exempt status. The institution's purpose must not be so at odds with the common community conscience as to undermine any public benefit that might otherwise be conferred.

II A In Revenue Ruling 71-447, the IRS formalized the policy, first announced in 1970, that § 170 and § 501(c)(3) embrace the common law "charity" concept. They emphasize the absence of any language in the statute expressly requiring all exempt organizations to be "charitable" in the common law sense, and they contend that the disjunctive "or" separating the categories in § 501(c)(3) precludes such a reading. 447, Congress expressly reconfirmed this view with respect to the charitable deduction provision: The exemption from taxation of money or property devoted to charitable and other purposes is based upon the theory that the Government is compensated for the loss of revenue by its relief from financial burdens which would otherwise have to be met by appropriations from other public funds, and by the benefits resulting from the promotion of the general welfare. B We are bound to approach these questions with full awareness that determinations of public benefit and public policy are sensitive matters with serious implications for the institutions affected; a declaration that a given institution is not "charitable" should be made only where there can be no doubt that the activity involved is contrary to a fundamental public policy. Congress, in Titles IV and VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Pub.

And the actions of Congress since 1970 leave no doubt that the IRS reached the correct conclusion in exercising its authority. Petitioners' asserted interests cannot be accommodated with that compelling governmental interest, and no less restrictive means are available to achieve the governmental interest. Goldsboro admits that it maintains racially discriminatory policies, and, contrary to Bob Jones University's contention that it is not racially discriminatory, discrimination on the basis of racial affiliation and association is a form of racial discrimination. J., Opinion of the Court CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court. To effectuate these views, Negroes were completely excluded until 1971. The University subsequently filed returns under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act for the period from December 1, 1970, to December 31, 1975, and paid a tax [p582] totalling on one employee for the calendar year of 1975. 1150 (DC 1971), with approval, the Court of Appeals concluded that § 501(c)(3) must be read against the background of charitable trust law. For more than 60 years, the IRS and its predecessors have constantly been called upon to interpret these and comparable provisions, and in doing so have referred consistently to principles of charitable trust law. The correctness of the Commissioner's conclusion that a racially discriminatory private school "is not ‘charitable' within the common law concepts reflected in . D The actions of Congress since 1970 leave no doubt that the IRS reached the correct conclusion in exercising its authority. Petitioner Bob Jones University, however, contends that it is not racially discriminatory. 230, defined "racially nondiscriminatory policy as to students" as meaning that the school admits the students of any race to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at that school, and that the school does not discriminate on the basis of race in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs. The Solicitor of Internal Revenue looked to the common law of charitable trusts in construing that provision, and noted that "generally bequests for the benefit and advantage of the general public are valid as charities." Sol.

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