Supreme Court to Hear Maine Religious Schools Tuition Case | Education News
The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that it would hear a case against Maine’s ban on using state-provided financial aid to allow students to attend religious schools.
The case, Carson vs. Makin, challenges a policy by the Maine Department of Education that state tuition fees for families who do not live near a public school cannot be used to send students to religious schools, but can be used to send them to public or private schools.
The court, which has a conservative 6-3 majority, has agreed to hear an appeal, brought by families who want to use the state’s education program to send their children to religious schools, of a court ruling inferior in favor of the state, which had ruled that Maine’s policy did not violate the Constitution’s First Amendment right to freedom of religion.
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All the lower courts ruled in favor of the state.
Michael Bindas, Senior Counsel for Families, told The Associated Press that by “distinguishing religion – and only religion – from its exclusion from its tuition assistance program,” Maine limited the rights of families.
“It is unconstitutional and we are convinced that the Supreme Court will hold it as well,” Bindas said.
However, Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey said in a statement that religious schools are excluded from the program “because the education they provide is not equivalent to” public education, AP reported.
“Parents are free to send their children to such schools if they wish, but not with public funds. I am confident the Supreme Court will recognize that nothing in the Constitution obliges Maine to include religious schools in its public education system, âFrey said. .
The case will be one of 10 cases the Supreme Court has added to its roster to be heard during its next term starting in October.