SCOTUS: Religious Institutions Eligible for Some Public Funds
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that religious institutions are eligible for public funds, so long as that money is directed towards secular programs. The 7-2 decision said the state of Missouri violated a Lutheran church’s rights under the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause by barring it from receiving a state grant for playground resurfacing. Only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. “Denying a generally available benefit solely on account of religious identity imposes a penalty on the free exercise of religion that can't be justified only be a state interest ‘of the highest order,’” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court’s opinion.