ADL to Supreme Court: 'School Choice' Programs
Violate Church State Separation, Harmful To Religious Freedom
New York, N.Y., December 13, 2001... Rejecting the notion that those who support separation of church and state are hostile to religion, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
will file a "friend of the court" brief on Dec. 14th with the United States Supreme Court in the Ohio school voucher case Zelman v. Simmons-Harris. The case asks whether it is constitutional for a state to provide vouchers to pay for students to attend religious schools.
"The principle of separation of church and state is vital to the religious pluralism of our society and maintaining a high wall between the two issues is a priority for ADL," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "'School choice' programs, such as this, violate church-state separation and foster the idea that government financing for religious education is the only solution to improving a student's situation in a failing school district. In fact, voucher programs actually undermine a backbone of American democracy: free public education."
"The brief informs the Court about what we have learned through decades of work on behalf of religious minorities: the separation of church and state has advanced rather than hampered religious freedom in America," Mr. Foxman added.
The brief was principally authored by Martin E. Karlinsky, ADL Legal Affairs Chairman, Daniel J. Beller, ADL National Commissioner, and Fredrick M. Lawrence, ADL Associate National Commissioner and Boston University Law Professor. ADL had also previously filed a brief in this case when it was before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.