Supreme Court Rules That Religious Schools Can Access State Tuition Assistance

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Parents have a lot of choices to make when it comes to their children’s education. Many prefer the public school system, but some prefer, and can afford, private school. Then, of course, there are private religious versus private secular schools. Because of a new Supreme Court decision, private religious schools could become more affordable.

The Supreme Court has released another ruling, this one regarding the case of Carson v. Makin. That case involved a Maine law that blocked religious schools from receiving state tuition assistance allocated for private institutions. In its decision, the Court said the law “penalizes the free exercise” of religion in the state.”

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Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion in the case, which was decided 6-3. He wrote that “Maine’s tuition scholarship program — which pays for some students to attend “nonsectarian” private schools when there are no public schools in their communities — ‘operates to identify and exclude otherwise eligible schools on the basis of their religious exercise,'” reports The New York Post.

One person likes the ruling, tweeting: “A big win for children, in a 6 – 3 ruling the Supreme Court strikes down a Maine law which prohibited parents from selecting a faith based school when exercising the state ‘school choice program’.”

And they received this reply: “And then, Sotomayor cried and began whining about separation of church from state. This country was founded on principles that originated in the biblical beliefs our forefathers held deeply.”

The 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals had upheld Maine’s law, holding that the state did not violate the Constitution by refusing to allow taxpayer money to be used for private religious education. The majority on the Supreme Court disagreed.

Three of the liberal Justices, Sotomayor, Breyer, and Kagan, dissented, reports The Post. They believe that the Court’s ruling violates the principle of separation of church and state. Read more at

The ruling is only relevant to one other state, Vermont, at this time. But it could cause religious groups in rural areas to ask their legislators to implement similar tuition assistance programs in their states. This will serve to give parents more choice as to where they want their children educated.

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This ruling will allow parents freer choice as to where their children receive their education. If the religious private school provides a better education than the secular private school, parents can choose the better school. Or, if they simply wish their children to receive religious education, but need financial assistance, they can now get it. Do you agree with the decision?

Stacey Warner

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