Supreme Court to Hear Maine Ban on Funding Religious Schools
The Supreme Court has ruled it will hear a case against Maine’s ban on using financial aid under a public program to attend religious schools, the court said on Friday.
Families challenged a The Maine Department of Education policy that states that public tuition fees for families who do not live near a public school cannot be used to send children to religious schools, but can be used to send them to public or private schools.
The complainants in the case, Carson v. Makin, filed a petition earlier this year with the Supreme Court, which was granted on Friday. It is one of 10 cases the High Court added to its case on Friday while closing its nine-month tenure.
Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey (D) maintained in a statement reported by The Associated Press that religious schools are excluded from public tuition “because the education they provide is not equivalent to “public schools.
“Parents are free to send their children to such schools if they wish, but not with public funds. I am confident that the Supreme Court will recognize that nothing in the Constitution obliges Maine to include religious schools in its public education system, ”Frey said, according to AP.
All the lower courts have ruled in favor of the state.
The Institute For Justice, a firm representing families, said in a Press release that it could be a “historical case” for the choice of school.
“By privileging religion – and only religion – for exclusion from its tuition assistance program, Maine is violating the US Constitution,” said Michael Bindas, senior counsel for the group.
“The state categorically prohibits parents from choosing schools that provide religious education. It is unconstitutional, ”he added.
As the conservative-majority court considered the school and other funding case on Friday, it declined to hear another case about a Washington state florist who refused to arrange the wedding of a same-sex couple, leaving in place an inferior court ruling that the company had engaged in unlawful discrimination.
At least four of the court’s nine judges must vote in favor of hearing a case for the court to consider.