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N.Y. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Textbooks Aid to Religious Schools

January 3, 1967
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court this weekend upset a lower court ruling which had declared unconstitutional the state law providing for the loan of textbooks to children in Hebrew schools and other parochial and private schools.

The law, which had been declared unconstitutional in the lower court last August by Supreme Court Justice Paul T. Kane, provides for state payments to school districts of $10 to $15 for each pupil annually for the purchase of textbooks to be loaned to pupils of both public and non-public schools. The state grants were set for all pupils, public and non-public, in grades 7 through 12.

In spite of the lower court ruling declaring the measure unconstitutional, State Education Commissioner James Allen, Jar., was instructed to implement the plan while State Attorney General Louis Lefkowitz filed an appeal from Justice Kane’s ruling. The American Jewish Congress and other secular Jewish groups had vigorously opposed the law while Orthodox Jewish organizations backing Hebrew day schools had supported the measure.

All five of the Appellate Division justices who overturned the lower court ruling this weekend said they were satisfied that the law was constitutional although three of them based their decision on the contention that the East Greenbush school board in Rensselaer County which instituted the litigation, had no right to bring suit.

Marvin E. Pollock, the attorney representing the East Greenbush school board, said today “We intend to pursue this case to its ultimate conclusion” adding that this would mean going beyond the State courts if necessary.

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