Board of Education v. Allen

392 U.S. 236 (1968)

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Board of Education v. Allen

United States Supreme Court
392 U.S. 236 (1968)

  • Written by Alexander Hager-DeMyer, JD

Facts

The State of New York enacted a law that required local public schools to lend textbooks at no cost to all students in grades seven through 12, including students in parochial schools. The legislature’s stated purpose in enacting the law was furthering educational opportunities for all youth in the state. Students had to request the books for loan, and the state retained ownership rights to the textbooks. Public-school authorities had to approve all the books loaned out, and only secular books could receive approval. The board of education for Central School District No. 1 (plaintiff) filed suit against the state and James Allen, the commissioner of education of New York (defendant) in New York Supreme Court. The board of education claimed that this law violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by using public funds to support purely religious education. The New York Supreme Court ruled in favor of the board of education, and the state appealed to the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division. The Appellate Division reversed, and the board of education appealed to the New York Court of Appeals, which affirmed the Appellate Division’s ruling. The board of education appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

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