Supreme Court Rules in Support of State Aid for Private Religious Schools
In a landmark 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot deny tuition aid to parents who choose to send their children to private religious schools, signaling a shift in opinion to previous court rulings on this issue.
The ruling, handed down by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in the Carson vs. Makin case from Maine, said in part that holding back funding for private schools based on religion, “was odious to our Constitution and could not stand.”
“A state need not subsidize private education,” Chief Justice Roberts added. “But once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”
In the Maine case, many rural areas do not have public schools, and parents, therefore, send their kids to private schools. While the State paid tuition for most cases, in instances where parents sent their kids to religious schools, the state withheld funding, fearing that it’ll be unconstitutional.
While the 3 liberal justices dissented, citing the separation of church and state, Roberts rejected the idea, as Maine must not fund the private religious schools. “Maine chose to allow some parents to direct state tuition payments to private schools; that decision was not ‘forced upon’ it,” he said, adding that discriminating against religious schools “could not stand.”