DAILY CATHOLIC TUESDAY June 15, 1999 vol. 10, no. 115
NEWS & VIEWS
SUPREME COURT TO MULL RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS USING TAX MONEY FOR COMPUTERS
WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear arguments in a 14-year-old Louisiana case over using tax dollars to buy computers and other instructional materials for religious schools.
The case, which is expected to have a ruling in 2000, could impact federal government plans to connect every classroom in America to the Internet using tax dollars as well as various state school voucher programs. The case revolves around a federal program that provides educational materials other than textbooks for religiously affiliated schools. Federal appeals court in New Orleans and San Francisco have made conflicting rulings on the constitutionality of the program.
"This cases involves the vital interests of American schoolchildren in obtaining access to modern technological equipment and materials," government lawyers told the court. "Millions of students nationwide, including over a million attending religiously affiliated schools, receive benefits under the program." The New Orleans appeals court ruled the program was unconstitutional last year using 20-year-old Supreme Court decisions that banned provision of any materials other than textbooks, but recent decisions in 1997 have blunted the force of those rulings.
SUPREME COURT ALLOWS STATE TO DECIDE WHETHER COLLEGE IS "SECTARIAN"
WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - The US Supreme Court on Monday let stand a ruling that allows Maryland to investigate whether a college is "pervasively sectarian" and therefore ineligible for direct monetary aid from the state.
Maryland's Sellinger Program allows the state to provide financial aid to private colleges based on the number of each school's full-time students, as long as religiously affiliated schools do not use the money for any religious purposes. In 1976, the US Supreme Court ruled that Catholic colleges may participate in the program if the schools were not "pervasively sectarian."
In the current case, the Maryland Commission of Higher Education denied the application of Columbia Union College, affiliated with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, to participate in the program. The college sued the commission in 1996 and a federal appeals court last year ordered an investigation into whether the school is indeed pervasively sectarian. The school had appealed the order, calling it "an intrusive investigation of religious speech and practice on its campus."
SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST OPERATION RESCUE ON PROTEST FINES
WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - The US Supreme Court on Monday refused to overturn a lower court ruling that Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry and other pro-life advocates must pay nearly $600,000 in fines from an abortion rescue campaign in New York City a decade ago.
The justices, without comment, rejected an appeal by the seven individuals and two groups that challenged the contempt-of-court fines and lawyers fee awards. "These phenomenally large fines ... are a means of repressing civil protest that would have been enthusiastically endorsed by Bull Connor and the Jim Crow South," the appeal said. The original ruling was supported by the NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund.
Operation Rescue and another pro-life group were ordered not to block access at abortion clinics in the New York area by a court injunction, but defied that order in 1988 and 1989. For violating the injunction, they were subjected to $350,000 in contempt fines and ordered to pay nearly $250,000 in lawyer fees incurred by the abortionists and pro-abortion groups that brought them to court.
In addition to Terry and the two pro-life groups, the
appeal acted on today was filed in behalf of Robert
Pearson, Jesse Lee, Joseph Foreman, Michael Monagle, Jeff
White, and Thomas Herlihy.
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NEWS & VIEWS