Board of Ed v. Allen: Court Upholds Public Purchase of Texts for Private Religious Schools

Board of Ed v. Allen: Court Upholds Public Purchase of Texts for Private Religious Schools

Board of Education v. Allen

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Argued: Board of Education v. Allen — The U.S. Supreme Court will rule that a New York Law requiring public school districts to purchase text books for private schools, including parochial schools, is permissible and not a violation of the Establishment Clause. According to the Court, the purpose of the law is to provide for the education of young people and that's sufficient to render the law constitutional.

Justice Hugo Black writes in his dissenting opinion:

"The First Amendment's bar to establishment of religion must preclude a State from using funds levied from all of its citizens to purchase books for use by sectarian schools, which, although "secular," realistically will in some way inevitably tend to propagate the religious views of the favored sect.

Books are the most essential tool of education since they contain the resources of knowledge which the educational process is designed to exploit. In this sense it is not difficult to distinguish books, which are the heart of any school, from bus fares, which provide a convenient and helpful general public transportation service.

With respect to the former, state financial support actively and directly assists the teaching and propagation of sectarian religious viewpoints in clear conflict with the First Amendment's establishment bar; with respect to the latter, the State merely provides a general and nondiscriminatory transportation service in no way related to substantive religious views and beliefs."
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