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Press ReleaseReligious Freedom/Church-State
ADL Says Supreme Court Decision on Vouchers "Step Backwards" for Church-State Separation

New York, NY, June 27, 2002... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed disappointment with today's Supreme Court ruling permitting governments to continue to pay for private religious education, calling it "a step backwards for religious liberty." The League pledged to continue to oppose vouchers on policy and state constitutional grounds.

Glen A. Tobias, ADL National Chairman, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

    The Supreme Court's decision to allow state funds to be given to private religious schools is a disappointment and a step backwards for religious liberty in America. However, our opposition to vouchers has never been limited to federal constitutional grounds alone, and we will continue to oppose them on policy and state constitutional grounds.

    We view this decision as extremely limited in its impact. The ruling is narrow and applies only to the specific fact pattern presented in Cleveland. While voucher supporters were hoping for a green light for the use of vouchers in a wide range of contexts, that is not what this decision does.

    We are confident that legislators and voters will continue to oppose vouchers on policy grounds. Indeed, wherever Americans have had an opportunity to vote on vouchers, they have rejected them outright. Americans support free and fair public education and are uneasy about government funding for religious schooling.

ADL filed an amicus brief in Harris-Simmons vs. Zelman, urging the Supreme Court to uphold earlier decisions by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. District Court, which had rejected vouchers as unconstitutional. ADL had argued that separation of church and state is essential to religious liberty in America.

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.

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