This decision does not come as a surprise as the same judge issued a similar ruling back in 2013 before the case was dismissed by a higher appeals court on the technical grounds of standing.

At this point, the court has issued its ruling simply declaring the housing allowance is unconstitutional but without any damages or other remedies awarded, so there is no immediate effect on ministers who are eligible for the housing exclusion under current law.

Additionally, it is likely the district court’s decision will be appealed, and a higher court will have to determine whether FFRF has standing on the facts of this case, and if there is standing, whether it agrees with the lower court that the housing allowance is unconstitutional.

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