Academic journal article Journal of Law and Education

Recent Decisions - SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

Academic journal article Journal of Law and Education

Recent Decisions - SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

Article excerpt

Final Decisions

DOCKET NO: 15-577

NAME: Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer

DATE: 6/26/2017

CITATION: 137 S. Ct. 2012

Note: Although this case does not specifically cover education law, it is included due to its impact on education law cases, especially those discussed immediately below.

Church run preschool filed suit claiming denial of state grant violated Free Exercise Clause of First Amendment. The state of Missouri established a grant program with provided reimbursements for nonprofit preschools that installed recycled tire mulch on their playgrounds. Trinity Lutheran Church's preschool applied for the grant and scored high enough on the state formula to qualify for the grant. However, their application was denied due to Article I, Section 7 of the Missouri Constitution, which prohibited the state from giving any financial assistance to churches. The church filed suit in federal court. The district court dismissed the suit. The church appealed and the court of appeals upheld the dismissal. The Supreme Court granted certiorari. Held: For the church. The Supreme Court found that the policy discriminated against otherwise eligible recipients by denying a public benefit based solely on the religious character of the applicant. Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, 137 S. Ct. 2012 (2017).

Review Granted, Lower Decisions Vacated and Remanded:

DOCKET NO: 15-556; 15-557; 15-558

NAME: Doyle v. Taxpayers for Pub. Educ. Douglas Cty. Sch. Dist. v. Taxpayers for Pub. Educ. Colo. State Bd. of Educ. v. Taxpayers for Pub. Educ.

DATE: 6/27/2017

CITATION: - U.S. -, 85 U.S.L.W. 3594

DECISION BELOW: Taxpayers for Pub. Educ. v. Douglas Cty. Sch. Dist., 351 P.3d 461 (Colo. 2015).

Taxpayer advocacy group filed suit against school board alleging program which awarded scholarships to students to attend private schools violated Public School Funding Act and Colorado Constitution. In 2011, the Douglas County School Board implemented its Choice scholarship program, which provided scholarships for eligible children to attend private schools. The taxpayer group filed suit seeing to block the program. The Colorado district court found for the taxpayer group and issued an injunction permanently blocking the program. The school board appealed. The Colorado Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the taxpayer group lacked standing to sue under the act and that the program did not violate any provisions of the Colorado Constitution. The taxpayer group appealed. The Colorado Supreme Court agreed with the court of appeals on the standing issue, but reversed the court of appeals decision on the grounds that section seven of the Colorado Constitution which directly prohibited providing state funds to religious institutions. The county school board, state school board, and a parent of one of the students all petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari. The U.S. Supreme Court granted all three petitions, vacated the Colorado Supreme Court decision and remanded the cases back to Colorado for reconsideration in light of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, 137 S. Ct. 2012 (2017). (See above). Doyle v. Taxpayers for Pub. Educ., - U.S. -, 85 U.S.L.W. 3594 (2017); Douglas Cty. Sch. Dist. v. Taxpayers for Pub. Educ., - U.S. -, 85 U.S.L.W. 3594 (2017); Colo. State Bd. of Educ. v. Taxpayers for Pub. Educ., - U.S. -, 85 U.S.L.W. 3594 (2017).

DOCKET NO: 16-1054

NAME: S.D. v. Haddon Heights Bd. of Educ.

DATE: 5/15/2017

CITATION: 137 S. Ct. 2121

CASE BELOW: S.D. v. Haddon Heights Bd. of Educ. 833 F.3d 389 (3d Cir. 2017).

Parents of disabled child filed suit contending that school district denied child the right to free appropriate public education in violation of Rehabilitation Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, First and Fourteenth Amendments, and New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination. S.D. has severe allergies and which force him to miss school days. …

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