Court Rules: States Can Withhold Funding for Theology Students

February 25, 2004

Source: The Associated Press

On February 25, 2004 The Associated Press reported, "The Supreme Court, in a new rendering on separation of church and state, voted today to let states withhold scholarships from students studying theology, even when money is available to students studying anything else. The Court's 7-2 ruling said the state of Washington was within its rights to deny a taxpayer-funded scholarship to a college student who was studying to be a minister... The ruling in Locke v. Davey is a departure from recent church-state fights in which the Supreme Court has gradually allowed greater state sponsorship of religious activities. Today's ruling has implications for President Bush's plan to allow more church-based organizations to compete for government money, and the Bush administration argued that the state had been wrong to yank the scholarship from former student Joshua Davey. Davey won a state Promise Scholarship, but the state rescinded the money when it learned what he planned to study."