Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Religious School Tuition Fee Case
On Friday, July 2, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the Carson v. Makin, which involves the use of public funds intended for religious educational institutions.
The case began with a case in Maine, where most school districts pay for students to attend public or private schools. The program only allows the use of funds in “non-denominational” schools. Two groups of parents, David and Amy Carson and Troy and Angela Nelson, wanted to use program funds to send their children to private religious schools that the state called “sectarian.” Thus, families were not eligible for funding.
These parents went to federal court arguing that being excluded from the program violated their constitutional rights to practice their religion. The United States Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit ruled against them, ruling that the exclusion of religious schools was due to the fact that the money was used for religious education, and not whether the he school was religious.
In February, plaintiffs asked the Supreme Court for a ruling and on Friday judges agreed the issue should be debated next fall.
In March, Agudath Israel of America joined an “amicus curiae” (friend of the court) brief, urging the United States Supreme Court to hear the case, arguing that the law violates the free exercise clause. the US Constitution under several recent US Supreme Courts. decisions because it prohibits students from accessing a student aid program otherwise available solely because of the religious nature of their school.
Agudath Israel released a statement on Friday, July 2, stating that they are pleased the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Carson v. Makin, involving the religious freedom of students.
Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Executive Vice President of Agudath Israel, said: “Excluding religious school students from state aid program that benefits other private school students violates their religious freedom . We are very pleased that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear this case and hopefully put an end to this unconstitutional and discriminatory practice. “