It was latest case in what did the court come to down on in side of religious interests when weighing the Constitution protection of religious exercise against its prohibition of government support of religion.
The case is related to an unusual program in a small a state that affects only a few thousand students. But this can have more serious consequences, since more conservative the court weakens the constitutional boundary between church and state.
Under program jurisdiction in rural areas are too sparsely populated to support secondary schools of their own can arrange for nearby schools to educate their school-age children or the state will pay for the tuition parents send your children to private schools. But these schools must be non-sectarian, meaning they cannot promote faith or beliefs. system or teach ‘through the lens of this faith, in the words of State Department of education.
Supreme Court says states that subsidize private education should include religious schools
Roberts said that program could not survive the constitution guarantee of free exercise of religion.
“There is nothing neutral about program,” he wrote. “The state pays tuition for some students in private schools – as long as the schools are not religious. this is discrimination against religion”.
Judge Sonia Sotomayor, one of dissenters replied: “This court continues to dismantle wall of the separation between church and state that the founders fought for build”.
Roberts was joined from a friend conservative Judges Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Cavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
decision was an example of how Roberts prefers move law gradually in a conservative direction. In 2017, he wrote an opinion stating that the state could not exclude a church site from program which provided funding for safety measures.
In 2020 he wrote for most that montana program who provided tax incentives to donors who sponsored scholarships for private schooling should be open to private also religious schools.
“State need don’t subsidize private education,” he wrote. “But once the state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”
Roberts wrote in Tuesday’s ruling: “Meng decision continue to exclude faith-based schools from its tuition aid program … contributes to a stricter separation of church and state than the Federal Constitution requires.”
Parties to the Supreme Court with religious institutions in big church-state decision
Three of the court’s liberals – Judges Stephen J. Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sotomayor – said the Maine case had gone too far.
Sotomayor marked the trajectory. “What is the difference in five years,” she wrote, “in 2017 I was afraid that the court would lead[ing] us … to place where is the division of church and state is a constitutional slogan, not a constitutional obligation.” Today the Court presides us to place where is the division of church and state becomes a constitutional violation.”
Breuer, in separate disagreement joined Sotomayor and Kagan, stated that the court in in past agreed that States could provide assistance private religious schools.
“But key the word May,” Breuer wrote. “We have never previously maintained what the Court considers today, namely that the State must (No May) use public funds to pay for religious education as part of of tuition fee program designed to ensure security of free statewide public school education.”
The case concerned two families who lived in rural part of Meng who did not offer public secondary schools. David and Amy Carson wanted government tuition payments to keep sending your daughter to Bangor Christian Schools, as well as Troy and Angela Nelson, who wanted to send them daughter at Temple Academy. They were presented conservative and libertarian legal groups including the Institute for Justice.
BUT panel of US court of Appeals for The 1st Circuit, which included retired Judge David Souter, said Maine has the right not to spend public funds on schools with religious mission.
Law of Notre Dame professor Nicole Stelle Garnett, who sued against Maine program 25 years ago named decision “victory for both for religious freedom and for American Schoolchildren.
She said in a statement that decision “Removes a major barrier to expansion of parent choice in United States, explaining that when states accept choice programs they must allow parents choose religious schools for them children”.
On the other side Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Lazer said in the statement that “ultra-conservative majority of US Supreme Court Continues to Redefine Constitutional Promise of religious freedom for everything is like a religious privilege for the chosen ones.”
The fact Carson vs. Makin.