Supreme Court considers religious liberty in Maine education case

Attorneys representing a Maine family at the Supreme Court are feeling confident following Wednesday’s oral arguments in the case Carson v. Makin.

The case asks whether a state – such as Maine – breaches the free exercise clause or equal protection clause of the First Amendment by barring students in a student-aid program from using their aid to attend schools offering a “sectarian” education.

The Carson family, consisting of parents Amy and David and their daughter Olivia, reside in Glenburn, Maine. Because Glenburn has no public school system, families with school-age children are eligible for a school-choice program that pays tuition at either public or non-sectarian schools.

About 5,000 Maine students are eligible for this program, which specifically excludes private schools that are “​​associated with a particular faith or belief system and which, in addition to teaching academic subjects, promotes the faith or belief system with which it is associated and/or presents the material taught through the lens of this faith,” which Maine considers “sectarian”.

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