Church and State Separation in Crisis

Does God Need Tax Money to Teach?

But do they remain vital to this Supreme Court? The Court appears to be split down the middle. Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy are odds-on favorites to approve the Cleveland voucher program—with Souter, Stevens, Ginsburg, and, I hope, Breyer against. Right smack in the middle is likely to be Sandra Day O'Connor, who wrote, in a concurring opinion in Rosenberg v. Rector (1995): "Public funds may not be used to endorse the religious message."

However, Justice O'Connor has more than once expressed views that seem contradictory, and she prides herself on judging one case at a time—keeping precedents in mind, but focusing on the specific facts in each case.

If the Supreme Court approves public money for pervasively religious schools, the decision may be challenged in those states—like New York—whose own constitutions provide greater separation of church and state. But the outcome is not certain.

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