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Mitchell v. Helms
Supreme Court of the United States

IN THE

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

__________________________

GUY MITCHELL, ET AL.,

Petitioners,

v.

MARY L. HELMS, ET AL.,

Respondents.

__________________________

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES

COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT

__________________________

BRIEF OF THE AVI CHAI FOUNDATION AS

AMICUS CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONERS

__________________________

NATHAN LEWIN

(Counsel of Record)

JULIA E. GUTTMAN

JODY MANIER KRIS

MILLER, CASSIDY, LARROCA

& LEWIN, L.L.P.

2555 M Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20037

(202) 293-6400

 

Attorneys for Amicus Curiae

The AVI CHAI Foundation

 

QUESTION PRESENTED

Whether a program under Chapter 2 of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 20 U.S.C. 7301, et seq., which provides federal funds to state and local education agencies to purchase and lend neutral, secular, and nonreligious materials such as computers, software, and library books to public and nonpublic schools for use by the students attending those schools, and which allocates the funds on an equal per-student basis, regardless of the religious or secular character of the schools the students choose to attend, violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Question Presented

Table Of Authorities

INTEREST OF THE AMICUS CURIAE

THE NATURE OF THE FEDERAL AND STATE PROGRAMS THAT ARE AT ISSUE IN THIS CASE

A. Federal Grant Programs

B. Federal Safeguards Against Use for Religious Indoctrination

C. State Programs

SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT

ARGUMENT

I. THIS COURT'S EARLY DECISIONS PERMITTED THE STATE TO PROVIDE RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS WITH SECULAR, NEUTRAL AND NONIDEOLOGICAL MATERIALS

II. MEEK AND WOLMAN WERE ERRONEOUSLY DECIDED AND SHOULD BE OVERRULED

III. THE LANGUAGE AND PURPOSE OF THE ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE DO NOT PROHIBIT GOVERNMENTAL CONDUCT OR EXPENSE THAT IS SECULAR AND NONIDEOLOGICAL

IV. AGOSTINI HAS REPUDIATED THE "PRESUMPTION OF INCULCATION"

V. THE "PERVASIVELY SECTARIAN" NATURE OF THE RECIPIENT SCHOOL SHOULD BE CONSTITUTIONALLY IRRELEVANT

CONCLUSION

APPENDIX I (Benefits Provided By States)

APPENDIX II (Benefits Provided By Type)


TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

Page(s)

CASES:

Agostini v. Felton,
521 U.S. 203 (1997) 9, 11, 22, 23

Aguilar v. Felton,
473 U.S. 402 (1985) 20

Board of Education v. Allen,
392 U.S. 236 (1968) passim

Bowen v. Kendrick,
487 U.S. 589 (1988) 24

Columbia Union College v. Clark,
119 S. Ct. 2357 (1999) 24

Everson v. Board of Education,
330 U.S. 1 (1947) passim

Lemon v. Kurtzman,
403 U.S. 602 (1971) 9, 12, 14, 15

Meek v. Pittenger,
421 U.S. 349 (1975) passim

Meek v. Pittenger,
374 F. Supp. 639 (E.D. Pa. 1974),

rev'd in relevant part,
421 U.S. 349 (1975) 16, 18

School Dist. of Grand Rapids v. Ball,
473 U.S. 373 (1985) 20

Smith v. Allwright,
321 U.S. 649 (1944) 9

Tilton v. Richardson,
403 U.S. 672 (1971) 14, 23

Wallace v. Jaffree,
472 U.S. 38 (1985) 19, 21

Wolman v. Walter,
433 U.S. 229 (1977) passim

Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School Dist.,
509 U.S. 1 (1993) 22-23

STATUTES:

20 U.S.C. 7301(b) (1994) 2

20 U.S.C.  7371(b) (1994) 4

20 U.S.C. 7372(a)(1) (1994) 4

20 U.S.C. 7372(b) (1994) 3

20 U.S.C. 7372(c)(1) (1994) 5

20 U.S.C. 7372(c)(2) (1994) 5

Conn. Gen. Stat. 10-217a (1997) 8

Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, 127 (1999) 7

105 Ill. Comp. Stat. 125/2 (West 1998) 8

Ind. Code 20-8.1-9-9.5 (1990) 6

Iowa Code 285.1 (1999) 7

Minn. Stat.  120B.22 (1998) 7

Miss. Code Ann. 37-23-69 (1972) 7

Miss. Code Ann.  37-43-1 (1972) 6

N.J. Stat. Ann. 18A:40-25 (West 1998) 8

N.J. Stat. Ann. 18A:40A-5 (West 1998) 7

N.J. Stat. Ann. 18A:46A-1 (West 1998) 7

N.J. Stat. Ann. 18A:46A-4 (West 1998) 7

N.C. Gen. Stat. 115C-115 (1998) 7

N.D. Cent. Code 15-34.2-16 (1999) 7

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 3317.06 (Anderson 1999) 7

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 3317.063 (Anderson 1999) 8

22 Pa. Cons. Stat. 115.1 (1999) 7

Wis. Stat. 115.791 (1999) 7

REGULATIONS:

34 C.F.R. 299.6 (1998) 3

34 C.F.R. 299.7 (1998) 3

34 C.F.R. 299.9 (1998) 5

OTHER AUTHORITIES:

1 Annals of Congress 730 (J. Gales ed. 1834) 21

Jesse H. Choper, The Establishment Clause and Aid to Parochial Schools – An Update, 75 Cal. L. Rev. 5 (1987) 9

Education Commission of the States: Clearinghouse Notes, 1993-94 State Aid to Non-Public Schools (September 1997) 6

Education Commission of the States: Clearinghouse Notes, State Constitutions and Public Education Governance (June 1999) 6

Mary Ann Glendon & Raul F. Yanes, Structural Free Exercise, 90 Mich. L. Rev. 477 (1991) 22

Michael W. McConnell, The Origins of the Religion Clauses of the Constitution: Coercion: The Lost Element of Establishment, 27 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 933 (1986) 21-22

Michael W. McConnell & Richard A. Posner, An Economic Approach To Issues of Religious Freedom, 56 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1 (1989) 9

SRI International, How Chapter 2 Operates at the Federal, State, and Local Levels

(1994) 2, 3, 4, 5

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