Carson v. Makin: Separation of Church and State is Now a Constitutional Violation

On June 21, 2022, in a 6-3 decision the Supreme Court issued a ruling in Carson v. Makin requiring the state of Maine’s tuition assistance program to pay for religious education at private religious schools.  The program was designed to pay for rural students to attend a private school, if their town does not offer a public school option.

The ruling in Carson v. Makin means Maine taxpayer dollars will fund private, religious schools. Such schools are allowed to discriminate… against LGGTQ+ students and their parents, against atheists, or against anyone else under the guise of religious freedom.

This decision will result in far-reaching consequences for both public education and for church-state separation, and infringes upon the liberties of those who do not conform to a certain, privileged notion of religious thought.. It’s perhaps best summarized by Justice Sotomayor’s dissent:

“What a difference five years makes. In 2017, I feared that the Court was ‘lead[ing] us . . . to a place where separation of church and state is a constitutional slogan, not a constitutional commitment. Today, the Court leads us to a place where separation of church and state becomes a constitutional violation.”