In October 2021, ACLU of Maine submitted a “friend of the court” brief to the United States Supreme Court in Carson v. Makin, along with the ACLU National Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief and a group of civil rights and religious organizations submitted. Our brief supported the constitutionality of a Maine law that prohibits the use of taxpayer funding for religious instruction at religious schools.
In our brief, we explain how under the Free Exercise Clause, the State is not required to fund religious instruction and cannot force anyone to fund religious beliefs one does not support. We argue that the inclusion of religious instruction in public school funding, would knowingly coerce individuals since they cannot entirely dictate how their tax dollars are spent.
On June 21, 2022, the Supreme Court issued its decision holding that Maine’s tuition program is unconstitutional under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.