Posted on September 14, 1998 In Press Releases

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, through its Institute for Public Affairs, today joined in filing a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court of Maine with regard to that state’s education subsidy policy.

The brief was drafted by Washington, DC attorneys Nathan Lewin and Richard Garnett on behalf of a coalition of Orthodox Jewish groups.

In Maine, small towns that do not have their own public school system routinely cover the costs for residents’ children to attend public or private schools in neighboring communities. Parents who wish to send their children to private parochial schools have been barred from receiving these subsidies. This unequal policy was recently challenged in court and upheld as constitutional.

Nathan Diament, director of the Institute for Public Affairs, issued the following statement today:

The Orthodox Jewish community was deeply troubled by the lower court’s ruling in this case.

In effect, the trial court held that the United States Constitution requires that a state discriminate against parents who wish to send their children to religious schools and not to afford them a subsidy that they provide all other parents.

We believe this holding is clearly wrong for it is inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution, not to mention numerous decisions of the Supreme Court.

Our brief to the court asserts that to provide state education subsidies to a class of parents with children in school except for those who elect to send their children to religious schools is to unconstitutionally discriminate against religion.

We are confident that Maine’s high court will rule in our favor.