November 26, 2022

Supreme Court: Maine religious schools cannot be barred from the curriculum

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended recent victories for religious interests, banning the Maine education program from allowing public funding to go to schools that promote religious teaching.

Chief Justice John G. There were 6 to 3 votes with Roberts Jr.. Writing for the majority And the three Liberals of the Court disagreed.

This is the latest case in which the court has sided with religious interests while weighing the Constitution’s defense of religious training against the state’s ban on religious recognition.

The case involves an extraordinary project in a small state, which affects only a few thousand students. But this could have far-reaching implications as the most conservative court loosens the constitutional line between church and state.

Under the scheme, jurisdictions in rural areas, to the extent that they support high schools, nearby schools can arrange to teach their school-age children or parents can pay government tuition fees to send their children to private schools. But those schools must be secular, that is, they cannot promote faith or belief system or teach in the words of the state Department of Education “by this belief.”

The Supreme Court has ruled that states that subsidize private education should include religious schools

Roberts said the plan could not live up to the constitutional guarantee of free use of religion.

“There is no neutrality in Mine’s plan,” he wrote. “The government pays tuition fees for some students in private schools – unless the schools are religious. That is discrimination against religion. “

One of the protesters, Judge Sonia Sodomayor, responded, “This court continues to remove the dividing wall between the church and the state, which the Frams fought to build.”

Fellow conservative judges with Roberts include Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Korsch, Brett M.. Kavanagh and Amy Connie Barrett joined.

This decision is an example of how Roberts wants to move the law in a conservative direction. In 2017, he wrote the opinion that a government could not exclude the church playground from a plan to fund security measures.

In 2020, he wrote for the majority A Montana project Provided tax breaks for donors who financed private school education grants, should also be open to private religious schools.

“A government does not need to subsidize private education,” he wrote. “But once a government decides to do so, some private schools cannot be disqualified simply because they are religious.”

In Tuesday’s ruling, Roberts wrote, “Maine’s decision to continue to exclude religious schools from its scholarship program … encourages a more drastic separation of church and state than the federal constitution demands.”

The Supreme Court has sided with religious institutions in a major church-state ruling

Three Liberals of the Court – Judges Stephen G. Prairie, Elena Kagan and Sotomayor – Maine said the case went too far.

Sotomayor noted the path. “What a difference in five years,” he wrote, “in 2017, I feared the court would be‘ leading ’.[ing] For us … the separation of church and state is a constitutional slogan, not a constitutional commitment. ‘ Today, the court is taking us to the point where the separation of church and state becomes unconstitutional.

In a separate joint statement, Fryer, Sodom Mayer and Kagan said the court had in the past agreed that states could provide assistance to private religious schools.

“But the key word is May,” Fryer wrote. “What the court has today, that is, we have never run a state before To (No. May) Use government funds to pay for religious education as part of an education program designed to ensure the provision of free public school education across the state.

Case involving two families living in the rural area of ​​Maine who did not provide public high schools. David and Amy Carson wanted the state’s tuition fee to continue sending their daughter to Bangor Christian schools, and Troy and Angela Nelson wanted to send their daughter to Temple Academy. They were represented by conservative and liberal legal groups, including the Institute for Justice.

The panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, consisting of retired Judge David Souther, ruled that Maine had the right not to spend public funds on religious schools.

Nicole Stelle Garnett, a law professor in Notre Dame, filed a lawsuit against Maine’s plan 25 years ago, calling the decision “a victory for religious freedom and for American schoolchildren.”

The decision “removes a major barrier to expanding parental choice in the United States.

On the other hand, Rachel Laser, the president and chief executive of the United States and state for the separation of the church, said in a statement: Pick some. “

The case is Carson v. Macin.