419 U.S. 888 (1974), 73-1612, Luetkemeyer v. Kaufmann

Docket Nº:No. 73-1612.
Citation:419 U.S. 888, 95 S.Ct. 167, 42 L.Ed.2d 134
Party Name:Urban B. LUETKEMEYER et al. v. Harold KAUFMANN et al.
Case Date:October 21, 1974
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 888

419 U.S. 888 (1974)

95 S.Ct. 167, 42 L.Ed.2d 134

Urban B. LUETKEMEYER et al.

v.

Harold KAUFMANN et al.

No. 73-1612.

United States Supreme Court.

October 21, 1974

On appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Facts and opinion, D.C., 364 F.Supp. 376.

OPINION

The judgment is affirmed.

Mr. Justice WHITE, joined by THE CHIEF JUSTICE, dissenting.

Missouri provides bus transportation to school for public-school children, but not for private-school children, living specified distances from their schools. Missouri Revised Statutes §§ 167.231, 167.251, 163.161 (1969). Appellant Urban Luetkemeyer, a Missouri taxpayer, sends his children, in accordance with his religious conscience, to

Page 889

a school related to the Roman Catholic Church. He brought this lawsuit claiming that the denial of bus transportation to parochial-school children violates his and his children's due process, equal protection, and free exercise rights. The District Court, Judge Gibson dissenting, ruled in favor of appellees, and this Court now summarily affirms.

In Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, 67 S.Ct. 504, 91 L.Ed. 711 (1947), the Court upheld a state statute authorizing local school districts to provide bus transportation to school for parochial-school children. This case presents the question whether in some circumstances a State may be constitutionally compelled to provide such transportation. This Court has never ruled on this question. Cf. Norwood v. Harrison, 413 U.S. 455, 462, 93 S.Ct. 2804, 37 L.Ed.2d 723 (1973); Everson v. Board of Education, supra, 330 U.S. at 16, 67 S.Ct. 504.

In Everson the Court noted that persons could not be excluded by a State 'because of their faith, or lack of it, from receiving the benefits of public welfare legislation.' Id. (emphasis in original). The Court found that the New Jersey statute in question 'does 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.' Id., at 18, 67 S.Ct. 504. Clearly this Court viewed the program of bus transportation as a service 'so separate and so indisputably marked off from the religious function . . .' that it could not be considered aid to religious schools in violation of the Establishment Clause. Ibid. See also...

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