Walz (plaintiff) owned real estate in the city of New York. Walz filed suit in state court seeking an injunction that would prohibit the Tax Commission (defendant) from acting upon a section of the New York Constitution that conferred an exemption from property taxes upon real estate used solely for religious purposes. Walz argued that the tax exemption violated the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment. The state supreme court and court of appeals granted summary judgment for the Tax Commission. Walz petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review of the state court rulings.