Supreme Court strikes down ban on state funding for religious education, a major win for religious interests

A view of the U.S. Supreme Court Building on May 16, 2022.

The Supreme Court delivered a major victory to religious-freedom advocates.
The Court said a Maine rule that prohibits use of taxpayer money for religious teaching is unconstitutional.
The ruling narrows the separation between church and state, according to some legal experts. 

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a Maine program that bars taxpayer funds from being spent on religious teaching at schools is unconstitutional, delivering another major victory to religious-freedom advocates. 

The decision was 6-3, with the court’s conservatives in the majority. 

“Maine’s ‘nonsectarian’ requirement for its otherwise generally available tuition assistance payments violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the opinion.

The case involved two Maine families who wanted to enroll their children at a private Christian school that offers religious teaching, but were denied tuition assistance from the state. Maine, a largely rural state that does not have public schools in some areas, has a program that allows public funds to cover students’ tuition fees at nearby private schools, so long as they are “nonsectarian.”

The families appealed the state’s decision, arguing that the rule is discriminatory and violates their First Amendment right to exercise religion freely, otherwise known as the free exercise clause. A lower court dismissed their challenge, which was then brought to the nation’s highest court.

“The court’s already made pretty clear the rules here,” Nicole Garnett, a professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School who filed a legal brief in support of the plaintiffs, told Insider ahead of the decision. “It’s saying, if you don’t want to enlist private schools to help educate your kids, you don’t have to do. But if you do, you can’t kick them out of the program or prohibit them because …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

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