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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Location: Congress
Facts of the Case 

The federal Higher Education Facilities Act of 1963 provided construction grants to church-sponsored higher educational institutions. The grants were to be used for the construction of non-religious school facilities. The Act also stipulated that twenty years after the grant had been given, schools were free to use the buildings for any purpose.


Did the Act violate the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment?

Decision: 5 votes for Tilton, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: 20 U.S.C. 754

In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that only the 20-year limitation portion of the Act violated the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment. The Court invalidated the 20-year clause, arguing that subsidizing the construction of facilities used for non-secular purposes would have the effect of advancing religion. The Court held that the church-related institutions in question had not used their federally-funded facilities for religious activities, and that the facilities were "indistinguishable from a typical state university facility." The Court also held that the Act did not excessively entangle the government with religion, noting that college students were less susceptible to religious indoctrination, that the aid was of "nonideological character," and that one-time grants did not require constant state surveillance.

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TILTON v. RICHARDSON. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 01 September 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_153>.
TILTON v. RICHARDSON, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_153 (last visited September 1, 2015).
"TILTON v. RICHARDSON," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 1, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_153.