Grand Rapids School District v. Ball
The Court's decision created a major barrier against using public funds for programs that take place within religious schools, making it more difficult to establish such programs and also damaging President Ronald Reagan's efforts to create a voucher system whereby parents could get tax credit or other public assistance for sending their children to private schools.
When the Bill of Rights was first added to the Constitution, Americans looked to European law to decide what they did and did not want their new country to be like. One of the aspects of European countries that most displeased the framers of the Constitution was the idea of an official church, one that was sanctioned, financially supported, or otherwise given special privileges by the government. In England, for example, the Church of England was the official church, and it was headed by the King of England. The colonists decided to insure that in America, church and state would be completely separate.
As a result, the First Amendment to the new Constitution held that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." In other words, Congress could not establish any religion as officially supported by the government. Nor could Congress interfere with the practice of any religion.
- Grand Rapids School District v. Ball - Separating Public And Religious Education
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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988Grand Rapids School District v. Ball - Significance, Separating Public And Religious Education, Taking The Lemon Test, The End Of A Symbolic Union