Supreme Court Rules Maine Can't Exclude Religious Schools from Tuition Aid Program

Headline Roundup June 21st, 2022

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that Maine cannot exclude religious schools from its state tuition aid program.

In a 6-3 opinion, chief Justice John Roberts concluded that the program violated the First Amendment because it "operates to identify and exclude otherwise eligible schools on the basis of their religious exercise." The case, Carson v. Makin, stemmed from two families in Maine who wanted to send their children to sectarian religious schools but were denied tuition assistance payments from the state. The Supreme Court came to a similar verdict in the 2020 Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case, which concluded that states cannot exclude religious schools from receiving taxpayer aid if they decide to subsidize private education.

Reports from across the spectrum noted that this ruling will have "greater implications" as the "more conservative" Supreme Court continues to further reduce the separation of church and state. Left-rated outlets were more likely to note that the "unusual" program in question "affects only a few thousand students." NPR (Lean Left bias) and other left-rated outlets emphasized that the ruling will "likely provoke other legal problems" given that the aforementioned religious institutions in Maine "candidly admit that they discriminate against" the LGBTQ+ community and non-Christians. Conversely, right-rated outlets were more likely to accentuate faith leaders who argued that the court decision "ensures a fairer future for all people of faith." CNSNews.com (Right bias) and other rated-outlets noted that Maine has "limited" its tuition assistance payment to "nonsectarian schools" since 1981.

From the Right
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ANALYSIS

For the second time in three years, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of religious schools seeking access to public education money in a decision that will further complicate efforts to keep religious organizations from receiving state funds.

Justices in the majority said that a Maine law limiting the participation of faith-based private schools in the state’s unique public education system violated the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.

“Maine’s ‘nonsectarian’ requirement for its otherwise generally available tuition assistance payments ... operates to identify and exclude otherwise...

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From the Left
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended a recent streak of victories for religious interests, striking down a Maine tuition program that does not allow public funds to go to schools that promote religious instruction.

The vote was 6 to 3, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing for the majority and the court’s three liberals in dissent.

It was the latest case in which the court came down on the side of religious interests when weighing the Constitution’s protection of religious exercise against its prohibition of government endorsement of religion.

The...

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From the Center
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The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Maine cannot exclude religious schools from a state tuition assistance program, the latest case signaling the conservative court’s shift on religious freedom and separation of church and state.

The 6-3 opinion, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., found the program unconstitutional because it provided vouchers parents could spend at private or public schools but excluded schools with explicitly religious instruction.

The Supreme Court found that Maine’s program violated the Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment because it prohibits the schools from...

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