Contact: Jenni Smith
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650

 

June 27, 2002

SMU CONSTITUTIONAL LAW SCHOLAR AVAILABLE TO SPEAK ON THURSDAY’S U.S. SUPREME COURT VOUCHER CASE

Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law Dean John Attanasio, a renowned constitutional law scholar, is available to speak to reporters about today’s historic U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing tax credits for religious education.

John B. Attanasio (214) 768-8999 -- “Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision is one of the most important decisions of this term because it upholds a system of tax credits that have been used overwhelmingly by parents to pursue parochial education for their children. This is not a subsidy of parochial education. Parents who put their children in parochial schools already are paying taxes toward the public school systems. This decision allows states to address the inequity faced by minority and low-income parents who wish their children to get their education with religious content. What is new is this is the first time the court has upheld tax credits rather than deductions, as it did 20 years ago in Mueller vs. Allen.”

Dean Attanasio said the claims were brought by parents in the Cleveland, Ohio school district comprised primarily of children from low income and minority families. This program is designed to benefit these children by giving larger sums to parents of those children. The court’s upholding of this program is a culmination of several different cases that uphold tax relief for people who want parochial education for their children. Today’s ruling also is inconsistent with, and arguably effectively overrules, a 30-year-old U.S. Supreme Court decision: Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty vs. Nyquist, according to Attanasio.


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