Government aid to religious schools can be governed by either of two principles: no aid to religion, or no discrimination among schools. No aid dominated in the 1970s because of lingering anti-Catholicism, the perception that school aid was just a Catholic issue, and fear of undermining desegregation of public schools. No discrimination came to dominate after 1985 because both anti-Catholicism and the desegregation effort faded away; evangelicals and black parents switched sides; and free marketers joined in to make a broad coalition for aid to private schools. These changes reframed the issue as one of individual choice for many Americans, bringing the no-discrimination principle to the fore and pushing the no-aid principle to the background. This article briefly reviews the social changes that set up the doctrinal change.

Douglas Laycock, Why the Supreme Court Changed Its Mind About Government Aid to Religious Institutions: It’s a Lot More than Just Republican Appointments, 2008 Brigham Young University Law Review, 275–294 (2008).
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