Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor says the court’s six-member conservative majority is taking apart the barrier between church and state, The Hill reported.
Her comments came as the court struck down a Maine program that had prevented religious schools from getting taxpayer funded tuition assistance, the outlet said.
“This court continues to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state that the framers fought to build,” Sotomayor wrote in her dissent of the 6-3 decision that broke along ideological lines.
“In just a few years, the court has upended constitutional doctrine,” she added, “shifting from a rule that permits States to decline to fund religious organizations to one that requires States in many circumstances to subsidize religious indoctrination with taxpayer dollars.”
In the Maine program, jurisdictions in areas too sparsely populated to support public schools, could make arrangements to have certain nearby schools teach their children, or the state would pay tuition to parents to send their children to private schools, The Washington Post noted.
But the program stipulated the schools must be nonsectarian. Those schools could not promote a faith.
The majority opinion in the case was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, The Hill noted.
“Maine’s ‘nonsectarian’ requirement for its otherwise generally available tuition assistance payments violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” Roberts wrote. “Regardless of how the benefit and restriction are described, the program operates to identify and exclude otherwise eligible schools on the basis of their religious exercise.”
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