Supreme Court rules in favor of religious families, schools
The case of Carson v. Makin focused on whether a Maine program for tuition assistance could restrict its funding to “nonsectarian” schools. The court Monday held that the program violated the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. Families sued the Maine state government for excluding religious schools from a program that covers tuition for students in rural areas without public schools. The decision follows similar rulings by the court in the cases of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer and Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue.
What does this mean for religious organizations? The decision states that the government cannot deny neutrally applicable and available benefits to religious organizations due to their religious nature. The government also cannot withhold funding because of how it will likely be used for religious instruction. This decision will likely lead to a renewed push to obtain funding for religious schools in Vermont and 17 other states with policies similar to Maine’s.
Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s report in Liberties about the background information and oral arguments for this case.
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