The 6-3 ruling is the latest in a string of Supreme Court rulings in recent years that have expanded religious rights.
This United States Supreme Court Allow more publicly funded religious entities to support two Christian families who challenge Maine’s tuition assistance program that excludes private schools that promote religion.
On Tuesday, a judge voted 6-3 to overturn a lower court ruling that rejected the families’ claims of religious discrimination that violated the U.S. Constitution, including First Amendment protections for the free exercise of religion.
This is the latest entry in the series decide Religious rights have been expanded in recent years.
The Supreme Court’s conservative justices have a majority in the ruling, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, and its liberal members dissent.
The decision builds on the Supreme Court’s 2020 decision in the Montana case that paved the way for more taxpayer dollars to flow to religious schools.
Maine provides public funds to pay for tuition private high school An option for a family in some sparsely populated areas in the Northeast that lack public secondary schools.
Schools that receive this tuition assistance under the program must be “non-denominational” and are excluded if they preach a particular religion and provide material “through the lens of that faith.”
The ruling provides the latest example Supreme Court, with its increasingly assertive conservative majority, expanding religious freedom has become a high priority. The justices have accepted the plaintiffs, who are usually conservative Christians, claim that the government is hostile to religion, including in education.
Maine case — titled Carson v Makin — tested two different clauses First Amendment: a clause that prohibits the government from establishing religion and another that guarantees religious freedom.
“The state of Maine has opted to offer tuition assistance and parents can go directly to the public or private school of their choice,” Roberts wrote.
“Maine’s administration of this benefit is subject to the free exercise principles of any public benefit program — including the prohibition on denying benefits based on the recipient’s religious practice.”
As far as she is concerned, liberal justice Sonia Sotomayor In its dissenting opinion, the Supreme Court “understood the establishment clause for decades prohibiting government funding of religious activities,” arguing.
“Finally, the court’s decision is particularly perverse because the interest at stake is the public education that all children in Maine are entitled to under the state constitution,” Sotomayor wrote.
“As this Court has long recognized, the Establishment Clause requires that public education be secular and neutral with regard to religion.”
In another dissent, justice Stephen Breyer — retiring at the end of the court’s current term — says Maine has every right to deny funding to schools that promote religion.
“Maine has committed to all children in the state the right to a free public education. To achieve this commitment, Maine has worked to provide children with the religion-neutral education their public school system needs,” Breyer wrote.
“This largely reflects the state’s anti-establishment interest in avoiding spending public funds to support what is essentially religious. The Religious Clause gives Maine the ability and flexibility to make that choice.”