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Agostini v. Felton

United States Supreme Court
521 U.S. 203, 117 S. Ct. 1997, 138 L.Ed.2d 391 [119 Educ. L. Rep. 29] (1997)



In 1978, Felton and a group of five other federal taxpayers filed suit seeking an injunction to prohibit the school board for the city of New York from using public funds to employ public school teachers to provide remedial education services in sectarian schools pursuant to Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. The federal district court denied the injunction, but the court of appeals reversed and the United States Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals decision on the ground that the school board’s program represented an excessive entanglement of church and state in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. On remand, the district court entered a permanent injunction against the use of public employees to provide remedial education services in sectarian schools. In 1995, the school board and a group of parents of religious school students entitled to receive Title I educational services filed motions with the district court seeking relief from the permanent injunction. The district court denied the motion and the court of appeals affirmed. Agostini and co-movants petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor, J.)

Dissent (Souter, J.)

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