Wednesday, June 28, 2017

On the Supreme Court Case, Trinity Lutheran, and Its Potential Implications for School Vouchers | deutsch29

On the Supreme Court Case, Trinity Lutheran, and Its Potential Implications for School Vouchers | deutsch29:

On the Supreme Court Case, Trinity Lutheran, and Its Potential Implications for School Vouchers



On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a decision on the Trinity Lutheran vs. Comer case.
One great question concerns the bearing that the Trinity Lutheran decision will have on future SCOTUS decisions concerning the use of public money to pay for vouchers to private, religious schools.
I address this possible bearing near the end of this post. (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.)
But first, let’s turn our attention to Trinity Lutheran vs. Comer. Here is some background on the case, as included in the link above:
The Trinity Lutheran Church Child Learning Center is a Missouri preschool and daycare center. Originally established as a nonprofit organization, the Center later merged with Trinity Lutheran Church and now operates under its auspices on church property. Among the facilities at the Center is a playground, which has a coarse pea gravel surface beneath much of the play equipment. In 2012, the Center sought to replace a large portion of the pea gravel with a pour-in-place rubber surface by participating in Missouri’s Scrap Tire Program. The program, run by the State’s Department of Natural Resources, offers reimbursement grants to qualifying nonprofit organizations that install playground surfaces made from recycled tires. The Department had a strict and express policy of denying grants to any applicant owned or controlled by a church, sect, or other religious entity. Pursuant to that policy, the Department denied the Center’s application. In a letter rejecting that application, the Department explained that under Article I, Section 7 of the Missouri Constitution, the Department could not provide financial assistance directly to a church. The Department ultimately awarded 14 grants as part of the 2012 program. Although the Center ranked fifth out of the 44 applicants, it did not receive a grant because it is a church.
Trinity Lutheran sued in federal district court because it believed that denial of participation in the program violated the First Amendment Free Exercise clause; in other words, the church believed that it was being wrongly excluded from the recycled tire program for its playground because the law “prohibited the free exercise” of its religion.
The federal district court dismissed the suit for the following reason:
The Free Exercise Clause, the court stated, prohibits the government from 
On the Supreme Court Case, Trinity Lutheran, and Its Potential Implications for School Vouchers | 
 
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