Magazine article The Christian Century

Religious School Vouchers Upheld. (Supreme Court Actions ...)

Magazine article The Christian Century

Religious School Vouchers Upheld. (Supreme Court Actions ...)

Article excerpt

By a narrow conservative majority, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of tuition voucher programs for parents who wish to send their children to parochial and private schools, giving President Bush a victory and church-state separationists a disappointing defeat.

On June 27, the last day of their current term, the justices overturned 5-4 a U.S. appeals court ruling that in turn had struck down a six-year-old pilot voucher program in Cleveland for violating the First Amendment stricture against government support of religion.

The court majority said the program does not put the government in the position of sponsoring religious indoctrination, despite the fact that more than 95 percent of the vouchers are used to subsidize Catholic or other religious schooling. "We believe that the program challenged here is a program of true private choice," said Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist in writing for himself and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.

"This landmark ruling is a victory for parents and children throughout America," said Bush, who campaigned for the presidency on the issue. He proposed in his 2003 budget to give families up to $2,500 per child in tax credits if they chose a private school over a failing neighborhood public school. …

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