Board of Education v. Allen 392 U.S. 236 (1968)

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BOARD OF EDUCATION v. ALLEN 392 U.S. 236 (1968)

New York authorized the loan of state-purchased textbooks to students in nonpublic schools. Justice byron r. white, speaking for the Supreme Court, relied heavily on the "pupil benefit theory" which he purportedly derived from everson v. board of education (1947). If the beneficiaries of the governmental program were principally the children, and not the religious institutions, the program could be sustained.

Justice hugo l. black, the author of Everson, dissented. Everson, he recalled, held that transportation of students to church-related schools went "to the very verge" of what was permissible under the establishment clause. Justices william o. douglas and abe fortas also dissented.

Allen stimulated efforts to aid church-related schools in many state legislatures. Later opinions of the Court, invalidating many such aid programs, have limited Allen's precedential force to cases involving textbook loans.

Richard E. Morgan
(1986)

(see also: Government Aid to Religious Institutions.)