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Religion, Schools and the Supreme Court

Chief Justice John Roberts delivered another opinion Tuesday that might inspire religious believers to thank God for the First Amendment. Some parts of Maine, which is the nation’s most rural state, don’t operate their own high schools. Rather, they send tuition money to the school of the family’s choice. But religious schools are specifically excluded.

“That is discrimination against religion,” the Chief Justice writes for a 6-3 majority in Carson v. Makin. Maine’s policy thus infringes on the Constitution’s guarantee of religious “free exercise.” This case is similar to one the Court heard from Montana two years ago. As the Chief wrote then: “A State need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”

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