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Everson v. Board of Education

    Citation. 22 Ill.330 U.S. 1, 67 S. Ct. 504, 91 L. Ed. 711 (1947)

    Brief Fact Summary. The Petitioner, Everson (Petitioner), in his status as a taxpayer, filed suit challenging the ability of the Respondent, Board of Education (Respondent), to reimburse funds to parents of parochial school students for the transportation of their children to and from school.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. This case stands for the proposition that, while no law respecting an establishment of religion will stand under the United States Constitution (Constitution), neutral laws, which afford benefits to children will be upheld.


    Facts. The Petitioner in his status as a taxpayer filed suit challenging the ability of the Respondent to reimburse funds to parents of parochial school students for the transportation of their children to and from school. The Petitioner brought suit alleging that the New Jersey reimbursement statute respects the establishment of religion, by allowing the parents of parochial school students to benefit from the reimbursement scheme. The New Jersey Court of Appeals held that the statute did not violate the Constitution and the Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) granted certiorari to consider the issue.

    Issue. This case considers whether the parents of parochial school children can benefit from the same services afforded to the parents of public school children.

    Held. Affirmed.
    In affirming the judgment of the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court found the statute was not unconstitutional because it was designed to provide a benefit to the parents of all school children, distinct from any religious function in which the children engaged.

    Dissent. The dissents of Justice Robert Jackson (J. Jackson) and Justice Wiley Rutledge (J. Rutledge) stand for strict adherence to the establishment clause.

    Discussion. It is important to understand, in striking down the Establishment Clause challenge, the Supreme Court highlights the fact that funds cannot be commingled when they are reimbursed only for transportation costs already expended. Thus, because there is no possibility of funding parochial activities in themselves, the statute is allowed to stand.


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