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Case Basics
Docket No. 
No. 84-238
No. 84-239
(Argued the cause for the appellees)
(Argued the cause for the appellants)
Facts of the Case 

Part of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 authorized local institutions to receive funds to assist educationally deprived children from low-income families. Since 1966, New York City had used portions of its Title I funding to pay salaries of employees who teach in parochial schools.


Did New York City's decision to use Title I funds to pay salaries of parochial school teachers violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment?

Decision: 5 votes for Felton, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Establishment of Religion

Yes. Even though the Court acknowledged that the efforts of the City of New York were well-intentioned, it found that the funding practices violated the Constitution. As part of New York's program, teachers were directed to avoid involvement in religious materials and activities in their classrooms. This, as well as the actions of school administrators and field supervisors who monitored classroom activities for religious content, posed constitutional problems for the majority. Involving agents of the city in extensive monitoring increased the potential for "divisiveness along religious lines" and violated the intent of the Establishment Clause which is to prevent the intrusion of church and state on each other's respective domain.

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AGUILAR v. FELTON. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 02 September 2015. <>.
AGUILAR v. FELTON, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited September 2, 2015).
"AGUILAR v. FELTON," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 2, 2015,