Supreme Court Rules That Excluding Religious Schools from Aid Program Violates Constitution: Implications for Congress [July 2, 2020]   [open pdf - 660KB]

From the Document: "Based on concerns about impermissibly supporting religion, many state constitutions bar state governments from providing funds to churches and other types of religious institutions--even in circumstances where that support would 'not' violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, in recent years, some have questioned whether these state provisions are unconstitutional under Supreme Court precedent that has interpreted the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause to prevent governments from discriminating against religious organizations when they distribute public benefits. In 'Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue,' issued June 30, 2020, the Supreme Court weighed in on this question, ruling that Montana's state constitution could not be applied to bar religious schools from participating in a tax credit program benefiting parents of private school students. This Legal Sidebar discusses the legal principles that governed this dispute, explains the Court's 'Espinoza' opinion, and explores implications of the decision for Congress. In particular, 'Espinoza' could call into question any federal laws that exclude religious entities from receiving federal aid based solely on their religious character."

Report Number:
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10509
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
Help with citations