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Four Groups File Suit Against Federal Aid to Religious Schools

The first major test cases challenging the constitutionality of public funds for sectarian schools under the billion-dollar Federal aid to education law were filed today in Federal and State Supreme Court here. Both suits filed today challenge the use of public funds for church and synagogue schools as violations of the church-state separation guarantee of the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Leaders of four civic groups — the American Jewish Congress, New York Civil Liberties Union, United Federation of Teachers and United Parents Association — joined in filing two suits. One or both of the cases are expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

At a news conference, the four organization spokesmen said the lawsuits were designed to attack: 1. The use of Federal funds for sectarian school instruction, counseling, textbooks and library services; 2. The use of state and city funds and facilities for sectarian schools, including the assignment of public school teachers to such schools; and 3. The “discriminatory administration of the law in favor of sectarian schools over public schools.”