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The Supreme Court yesterday ruled Maine cannot exclude schools providing religious instruction from a taxpayer-funded state tuition aid program because it violates the First Amendment. The court voted 6-3 along ideological lines, with the conservative majority siding with two families who sued the state for religious discrimination.
Under Maine’s program, families who live in rural areas without public high schools can receive tuition assistance at private schools or public schools in other communities—as long as those schools are nonsectarian, or explicitly provide religious instruction. The court found that excluding private schools based solely on such criteria violated the constitutional requirement of religious neutrality.
Separately, the court has yet to release a highly anticipated decision that may overturn Roe vs. Wade, which established federal protections for abortions. The court has a limited number of days left before the session is expected to close at the end of June.