(Public Aid to Church Related Schools)

This is a landmark case with regards to church-state separation. Chief Justice Black, writing the majority opinion, said, "The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach." This is an obvious legal error, as the first amendment did not erect a wall of separation. Justice Black deviated from the constitution, and quoted from a letter of Thomas Jefferson, misinterpreting Jefferson's intent, and undermining the pinnings of the First Amendment. This case, while finding that the New Jersey statute was not unconstitutional, has been cited by nearly every anti-religion court decision since.

A New Jersey statute authorizes its local school districts to make rules and contracts for the transportation of children to and from schools. 1 The appellee, a township board of education, acting pursuant to this statute authorized reimbursement to parents of money expended by them for the bus transportation of their children on regular busses operated by the public transportation system. Part of this money was for the payment of transportation of some children in the community to Catholic parochial schools. These church schools give their students, in addition to secular education, regular religious instruction conforming to the religious tenets and modes of worship of the Catholic Faith. The superintendent of these schools is a Catholic priest.

The appellant, in his capacity as a district taxpayer, filed suit in a State court challenging the right of the Board to reimburse parents of parochial school students. He [330 U.S. 1, 4] contended that the statute and the resolution passed pursuant to it violated both the State and the Federal Constitutions. That court held hat the legislature was without power to authorize such payment under the State constitution. 132 N.J.L. 98, 39 A.2d 75. The New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals reversed, holding that neither the statute nor the resolution passed pursuant to it was in conflict with the State constitution or the provisions of the Federal Constitution in issue. 133 N. J.L. 350, 44 A.2d 333. U.S. Supreme Court affirmed.