Mitchell v. Helms: Court Rules Educational Supplies Can be Given to Religious Schools

Mitchell v. Helms: Court Rules Educational Supplies Can be Given to Religious Schools

Mitchell v. Helms

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Argued: Mitchell v. Helms — The Supreme Court will rule 6-3 (but without a single majority opinion) to allow for educational materials and equipment to be given to religious schools, even if such equipment could be and is diverted for religious purposes — just so long as this aid is granted to any religious or private school in an even-handed manner.

The opinion of the plurality (4 justices) says:

"In distinguishing between indoctrination that is attributable to the State and indoctrination that is not, we have consistently turned to the principle of neutrality, upholding aid that is offered to a broad range of groups or persons without regard to their religion.

If the religious, irreligious, and areligious are all alike eligible for governmental aid, no one would conclude that any indoctrination that any particular recipient conducts has been done at the behest of the government. For attribution of indoctrination is a relative question.

If the government is offering assistance to recipients who provide, so to speak, a broad range of indoctrination, the government itself is not thought responsible for any particular indoctrination."

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