Press Release

Supreme Court to decide: can Maine take the religion out of religious schools? Fate of Maine’s discrimination against local religious schools at High Court

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court will hear Carson v. Makin on December 8 concerning Maine’s tuition assistance program, which compensates students who live in rural areas with no public school district for tuition. These students are allowed to attend the private school of their choice – unless it is religious. Students have used state funds to attend elite out-of-state New England prep schools but are barred from using them to attend even local religious schools.

Now the Supreme Court will decide if those students may use those funds to attend their local religious schools. In 2020, Supreme Court ruled in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue that a similar law which excluded students from religious schools was unconstitutional, noting the dark history of using anti-Catholic “Blaine Amendments” to exclude religious institutions from public programs.

Becket filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, arguing that the First Amendment does not permit states to exclude children from government education programs simply because they want to attend a faith-based educational institution.

Oral Argument in Carson v. Makin

Wednesday, December 8 at approximately 10:00 a.m. EST

Livestreamed at this link: Live Oral Argument Audio (

 For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, contact Ryan Colby at or 202-349-7219. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.