Friday, December 27, 2013

Everson v. Board of Education case brief

Everson v. Board of Education case brief summary
330 U.S. 1 (1947)

Appellant taxpayer challenged the right of defendant board of education to reimburse parents of parochial school students the money that they expended for bus transportation. The New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals reversed an order ruling in favor of taxpayer; the taxpayer appealed.

Acting pursuant to a New Jersey statute, a township board of education (board) authorized reimbursement to parents of money that they expended for the bus transportation of their children to and from parochial schools. 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. Taxpayer contended that the statute and the resolution passed pursuant to it violated both the state and the federal constitutions.


  • The court held that the First Amendment did not prohibit New Jersey from spending tax-raised funds to pay the bus fares of parochial school pupils as a part of a general program under which it paid the fares of pupils attending public schools. 
  • New Jersey could not hamper its citizens in the free exercise of their religion. 
  • Consequently, it could not exclude individuals because of their faith from receiving the benefits of public welfare legislation. 
  • The state legislation did no more than provide a general program to help parents get their children, regardless of their religion, safely and expeditiously to and from accredited schools.

The court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals.

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