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Supreme Court Hears Case Defending Religious Freedom

The Supreme Court is deciding whether a religious school is eligible for government grants.

The Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia sued the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on April 19 for refusing them grant money because they are a religious organization, according to Alliance Defending Freedom.

Trinity Lutheran applied to receive a grant to purchase recycled shredded tires to create a safer playground surface for their daycare, according to Alliance Defending Freedom.

Public aid is not to be disbursed to religious organizations, under Article 1, Section 7 of the Missouri Constitution. Trinity Lutheran claims this law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and the right to freedom of religion in the First Amendment, according to SCOTUSblog.

Despite both the District Court and the Court of Appeals ruling in favor of the DNR, the majority of the Supreme Court judges are leaning in support of Trinity Lutheran’s situation, according to SCOTUSblog.

“Not only were the judges receptive, but judges across all ideological lines were not agreeing with the states position that it’s permissible to discriminate against religious organizations or people,” said David Cortman, the lawyer representing Trinity Lutheran in an interview with Alliance Defending Freedom.

Justice Ginsburg and Justice Sotomayor most likely will support the State of Missouri. During the trial, Justice Ginsburg referenced a similar case, Everson v. Board of Education, according to CNN.

“I believe that this playground is part of the ministry of this church,” said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, according to CNN.

Sotomayor has been a Justice of the Supreme Court since August 2009, according to the Court’s website.

“We seem to be confusing funding with the practice of religion,” Sotomayor said, according to SCOTUSblog.

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