The U.S. Supreme Court heard argument in December in a case that could significantly alter the way in which religious schools are financed in this country. It is widely expected that, later this term, the court will strike down as unconstitutional under the First Amendment the restriction in a student-aid program in Maine that prohibits using that aid to pay for schools that provide religious, or sectarian, education. If the court issues such a decision in the case, Carson v. Makin, No. 20-1088, state and local governments will likely be more cautious about discriminating against religious schools when creating programs to finance students’ education.

After briefly discussing the Maine program and the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the program, this column will review the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Carson v. Makin, 979 F.3d 21 (1st Cir. 2020), the arguments made by the parties and amici to the Supreme Court, and the probable impact of the Supreme Court’s anticipated ruling.


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