Supreme Court Case Challenges Blaine Amendment

The State of Missouri excluded a preschool program operated by Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia from a scrap tire recycling program that would have made its playground surface safer. It did so solely because “the preschool is operated by a church rather than a secular not-for-profit.” The state thus violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by “imposing special disabilities on the basis of religious views” and “forcing a choice” between the exercise of religion and receipt of a government benefit.

The outcome of the case could have far-reaching implications for programs of state aid to students in religious schools.

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