The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that a proposed state law providing a tax deduction for education expenses incurred in attending public or private primary and secondary schools violated the state constitution.
The court acknowledged that the United States Supreme Court in 1983 upheld a similar statute in Minnesota against the claim that it violated the nonestablishment of religion clause of the United States Constitution. However, the court concluded that the Massachusetts state constitution contained a more stringent clause that banned any "grant, appropriation or use of public money" for any private or religious school or institution. This ruling is one of a number of state court rulings in recent years that have used state constitutional provisions to condemn practices that the federal courts have said do not violate the nonestablishment of religion clause of the United States Constitution. Opinion of the Justices to the Senate, 514 N.E.2d 353 (Mass. 1987)