ALERT! U. S. SUPREME COURT ISSUES DECISION IN RELIGOUS SCHOOL VOUCHER CASE

On June 27, 2002, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that a voucher program that allows public school students to attend private schools, including religous schools, is constitutional and does not violate the Establishment Clause.

Although this case is called “the school voucher case”, the word “voucher” is not mentioned in the majority opinion. Instead, the decision focuses on issues related to using tax dollars to support a religious institution.

The decision begins with this statement:

“The State of Ohio has established a pilot program designed to provide educational choices to families with children who reside in the Cleveland City School District. The question presented is whether this program offends the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. We hold that it does not.”

In the second paragraph of the decision, Chief Justice Rehnquist describes the dismal state of public education in Cleveland and the impact this has on poor children who attend Cleveland public schools.
 
Can we assume vouchers are here to stay? If Congress acts to overturn the impact of Zelman, how will it address vouchers for private schools that do not have a religous affiliation?

Read a discussion of this decision by Pete Wright:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/zelman.analysis.pw.htm

Download the decision in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris from the Caselaw Library:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/caselaw/ussupct.zelman.harris.htm

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