Several school districts in Maine do not maintain a public high school; instead, they pay tuition for resident students to attend nearby public and nonsectarian private schools. Some students’ parents sued in federal district court to force the school districts to provide vouchers for their children to attend religious schools. The district court held that the state statute barring payment for sectarian school tuition was constitutional. AU, along with other groups, submitted an amicus brief to the First Circuit on November 20, 1998, arguing that the failure to offer tuition payments does not violate the plaintiffs’ rights and that, in any event, the payments that they seek would violate the Establishment Clause. The First Circuit upheld the district court’s ruling on May 27, 1999, holding that vouchers for religious schools would violate the Establishment Clause. In October 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review.
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