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Committee for Public Education & Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, Commissioner of Education of New York

United States Supreme Court
413 U.S. 756 (1973)


New York amended its education laws to give three types of aid to non-public schools. The first provided grants to maintain and repair school buildings that serve a high concentration of students from low-income families. The second partially reimbursed the lowest-income families for tuition. The third allowed low-income families to deduct tuition from state income taxes. The Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty (PEARL) and several citizens (plaintiffs) brought a lawsuit against the government officials (defendants) challenging the law as unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause. The district court found that the aid benefited religious schools. Specifically, all or almost all of the schools that qualified for maintenance and repair grants were Catholic, although other types of religious schools also qualified for tuition reimbursement or deductions. The court overturned the maintenance and repair grants and tuition reimbursement but upheld the tax deductions. The parties cross-appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Burger, C.J.)

Dissent (White, J.)

Dissent (Rehnquist, J.)

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