Bangor Christian Schools sophomore Olivia Carson, 15, of Glenburn was dropped off on the first day of school by her mother, Amy Carson, in this August 2018 file photo. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday hears oral arguments in a case challenging a Maine law that bars public funding for religious schools.

The case, Carson v. Makin, is one of just a few from Maine that have made it to the high court over the years. Going before a court with a heightened interest in cases involving religion, the case could further define how a conservative 6-3 majority views the separation of church and state.

Oral arguments begin at 10 a.m., and the public can listen to a feed on the U.S. Supreme Court’s website.

The case, filed in federal court in Bangor in 2018, challenges a 40-year-old state law under which towns without public high schools pay tuition so local students can attend a public or private school of their choice in another community as long as it’s not a religious school.

The families that brought the lawsuit sought public tuition for their children to attend Bangor Christian Schools and Temple Academy in Waterville. A federal judge in Maine ruled for the state in June 2019 and the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his decision.

The legal question hinges on whether Maine is, in practice, barring public money from going to a school based on its religious status or because it would use the money to teach religion.

Below is Bangor Daily News’ coverage of the case since the lawsuit’s filing:

Maine’s ban on public funds for religious schools goes before US Supreme Court next week, Nov. 29, 2021

The Supreme Court will decide if Maine was allowed to bar public funds for religious schools 40 years ago, July 8, 2021

Supreme Court will take up Maine’s ban on religious school funding, July 2, 2021

Chances grow that Supreme Court will take up Maine’s ban on religious school funding, June 3, 2021

Families to take religious school tuition issue to US Supreme Court after losing appeal, Oct. 29, 2020

Federal judge rules against families seeking funding for religious schools, June 26, 2019
Bangor Christian students head back to school as plaintiffs in a lawsuit, Aug. 29, 2018