OU Hails High Court Ruling in Favor of Parochial School Aid

Posted on June 28, 2000 In Press Releases

Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, through its Institute for Public Affairs, hailed a 6-3ruling issued by the United States Supreme Court on its last day of the 1999-2000 session approving the use of public funds to subsidize the purchase of computers and instructional materials by parochial schools.

The Union, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, had joined with other Orthodox groups in a brief in this case urging the court to rule in this manner as it sought to resolve conflicting rulings issued by lower federal courts on this issue.

Opponents of the federal government providing this assistance challenged the program and asserted that by providing support for even a secular component of parochial school education, the government violated the Constitution’s proscription against the establishment of religion. The Supreme Court rejected that argument in its ruling and overruled two earlier court precedents to do so.

Nathan Diament, director of the Union’s Institute, issued the following statement commenting on the court’s ruling: The Supreme Court’s rulings on government aid to parochial schools has been in disarray for many years; textbooks could be loaned but not maps, prompting one to ask – what about atlases? Today, a majority of the Supreme Court has finally repudiated the arbitrary rules that used to govern what forms of assistance the government may give to parochial schools and their children. To prohibit parochial schools from receiving government support made available generally to all schoolchildren is nothing short of discrimination against religion. The Constitution calls upon the state to be neutral toward religion, not hostile towards it. That is what we urged the Court to say in this case and they have. The Orthodox Jewish community is very pleased with this ruling.