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Why the Supreme Court Changed its Mind About Government Aid to Religious Institutions: It’s a Lot More than Just Republican Appointments


Douglas Laycock


University of Virginia School of Law

September 11, 2009

Brigham Young University Law Review, Forthcoming
U of Michigan Public Law Working Paper No. 159

Abstract:     
Government aid to religious schools can be governed by either of two principles: no aid to religion, or no discrimination among schools. No aid dominated in the 1970s because of lingering anti-Catholicism, the perception that school aid was just a Catholic issue, and fear of undermining desegregation of public schools. No discrimination came to dominate after 1985 because both anti-Catholicism and the desegregation effort faded away; evangelicals and black parents switched sides; and free marketers joined in to make a broad coalition for aid to private schools. These changes reframed the issue as one of individual choice for many Americans, bringing the no-discrimination principle to the fore and pushing the no-aid principle to the background. This article briefly reviews the social changes that set up the doctrinal change.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 19

Keywords: Religious liberty, Establishment Clause, financial aid

JEL Classification: I29

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Date posted: September 11, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Laycock, Douglas, Why the Supreme Court Changed its Mind About Government Aid to Religious Institutions: It’s a Lot More than Just Republican Appointments (September 11, 2009). Brigham Young University Law Review, Forthcoming; U of Michigan Public Law Working Paper No. 159. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1472097

Contact Information

Douglas Laycock (Contact Author)
University of Virginia School of Law ( email )
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
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