Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty v. Nyquist 413 U.S. 752 (1973) Sloan v. Lemon 413 U.S. 825 (1973)

Author:Leonard W. Levy

Page 464

These cases, said Justice LEWIS F. POWELL in his opinion for a 6?3 SUPREME COURT, "involve an intertwining of societal and constitutional issues of the greatest importance." After LEMON V. KURTZMAN (1971), New York State sought to aid private sectarian schools and the parents of children in them by various financial plans purporting to maintain the SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. Avowing concern for the health and safety of the children, the state provided direct financial grants to "qualifying" schools for maintenance costs. But as Justice Powell observed, "virtually all" were Roman Catholic schools, and the grants had the inevitable effect of subsidizing religious education, thus abridging the FIRST AMENDMENT'S prohibition against an ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION. New York, as well as Pennsylvania, also provided for the reimbursement of tuition paid by parents who sent their children to nonpublic sectarian schools; New York also had an optional tax relief plan. The Court found that the reimbursement plans constituted grants whose effect was the same as grants made directly to the institutions, thereby advancing religion. The tax benefit plan had the same unconstitutional result, because the deduction, like the grant...

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