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Constitutional Law Keyed to Maggs
Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer
Citation:137 S. Ct. 2012 (2017)
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources offers state grants to help public and private schools, nonprofit daycare centers, and other nonprofit entities purchase rubber playground surfaces made from recycled tires. Trinity Lutheran Church applied for the grant for its preschool and daycare center. In its application, the Center disclosed its status as a ministry of Trinity Lutheran Church and specified that the Center’s mission was to provide a safe, clean, and attractive school facility in conjunction with an educational program structured to allow a child to grow spiritually, physically and socially. However, the Church was rejected solely because it was a church. Churches did not qualify from receiving grants under the Department policy. Trinity Lutheran sued the Director of the Department in the Federal District Court. The Church alleged that the Department’s failure to approve the Center’s application, pursuant to its policy of denying grants to religiously affiliated applicants, violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
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