tv Washington Journal Eric Rassbach CSPAN June 22, 2022 8:30pm-9:01pm EDT
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>> next with us is eric - the vice president and senior counsel with the fund for religious liberty here with us to talk about yesterday supreme court ruling on the case in maine and 82 religious schools and welcome to washington journal. >> it thank you for having me. >> tell us about the beckett funded what is his mission and how are you funded. >> we are nonprofit law firm, five o one c three, and we are sitting people of all different traditions, and we representative - christians and muslims, jews, and more that in terms of funding, we take donations from whomever and it's
tax-deductible. >> have you represented clients cases before federal courts including supreme court on the issue of religious liberty. >> yes, many thanks, my latest is 13 or 14 cases that the united state supreme court it14 frequently appeared to be for lower federal courts as a supreme court of the course including sometimes overseas to have here's the headlines with new york times in yesterday's ruling a supreme court case, supreme court rejects main - unaided to religious schools generally - three in the case of carson, eric, telus what that case involved. >> sure,s so we were in the rul states hand had a lot of small towns scattered throughout the areas in the state was just not enough school aged children to set up a school and so, rather
than bussing them along way, the school allowed them to attend for the state rather allowed the schoolchildren to attend a private school and they can get tuition at assistance for doing that. and up until around 1980, they do not really matter what school you went to private school you went to come he could so get this commission assistance which that they point out from it does pay all of your tuition, just a part of it and the result of that is anybody can go to whatever school they wanted it and in 1980, the attorney general said that recent supreme court, united states supreme court decision meant that this could no longer be extended to a religious schools and so the
best regulation saying he could only go to non- - schools and this is been a challenge a few different times over the years this is the first time that the restrictions where they have reached the united states supreme court and yesterday they rejected that restriction. >> "fox news" headlines in the supreme court rules program, violates first amendment for excluding religious schools in the u.s. constitution, first amendment of the constitution says congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise there and apply first amendment to this ruling, how does it fit into your view of religious liberty. >> sure, come different ways and
as the court explain yesterday, the problem with this kind of restriction is that this is generally available benefit and so, anyone in mainstream can get the tuition benefit to support their going or sending a child to a private school and once you have opened it up they said, denigrates problem because you're essentially penalizing people for sending the kids to school that has religious exercise and so in the view of the court, this discriminatory and you know i think that it makes a lot of sense, excluding the schools participating in the program to meet the terms with other private schools what you know, taking into various private schools outside of the state and using taxes.
and it seems strange not to allow the religious schools to participate in the program up and there's also an entanglement interesting that the other part of what you're talking about the first amendment which is the separation of church and state if you will and that's important because you don't want to have an angle where you have government deciding okay, this particular school is religious and this one is to religious and you know, just a little bit religious, that is okay that actually is what they had, a government bureaucracy was figuring out whether religious schools and how religious are you and ifar he decided to go a olittle bit over the line, we e going into you know, keep you out of this program and so that's called an entanglement to problem between the church and the state supreme court i yesterday said, that was also one of the big issues.
>> eric his our guest hand we welcome your calls and comments on this case the rotary issue of aid to religious schools in (202)748-8001 for republicans, 202 - and for independence and others, (202)748-8002, and i wanted to reach you some of the pushback from justice stephen breyer, one of the three sitting justices in the ruling yesterday, the headline from washington times this morning maine must also pay for religious going the right in there that that justice stephen breyer and he said he was that the majority was paying too much attention to the first amendment free exercise clause whichng protects freedom of worship and not enough to the establishment clause which limits the government's involvement with religious institutions a result he said is a system that permits religion to operate without government sponsorship or interference in your thoughts on
that. >> is prior has been saying this for a while and israel focuses on the strike into the religious conflict and frankly is something he's been saying since at least 2002, in a case called dominic where he also made conviction at that time there, because that would be a problem there that was a similar kind of question about whether such a program would support the tuition supporter in school choice support would be under the establishment clause and enter the report of the times it is what it and he said there could be a problem with religious strife but since then,
some really worn-out, and i don't think you bear out this time either. >> justice this is on the dissent said the course leads us to a place were separation of church and state become a constitutional violation of state cannot offer subsidies to its citizens without being required to fund religious exercise the many state values is historic antiestablishment interest, more than this court curtail theave to support and offering its citizens do you agree or disagree. >> i respectfully disagree withi the justice on this case. [inaudible]. so i certainly appreciate that but she in which case i think she was wrong and actually, sort of in the sense that this is a decisionse it the promotes are
entered separation of urgency to get rid of the bureaucracy limited g to, actually would lok at the curriculum of the religious curriculum of the sschool decided if it was too religious or just religious enough and we don't really need to sort of goldilocks bureaucracy within me signing this religious order to religious but we also do not need religious schools to be excluded society and so i think that the course decision yesterday as we have both values, the interest in having religious entities of all stripes, christian jewish, and participating in society and also interested not angling the church and state. >> is that the structure of the main schools, particularly that role schools and their lack of ability those rural communities to have a public schools make the case more of a one-off if you well and does this have broader implications perhaps on other states more rural
communities and fewer public school choices. >> garner too many of this particular kind of program that main house arguably new hampshire vermont also have a similar program and there is a broader widespread method called the blind amendment which often say something like no funding shall go to this organization and these are all past as a result of a wave of anti- catholic violence and calculating and 18 hundreds. especially after irish catholic innovation into the united states hand there was a federal amendment in a number of states and state constitution it that
was there for a long time and many people thought they were unconstitutional particularly because they had catholic origins and indicates a couple of years ago, the united states of records of those were problematic in this case yesterday builds on the decision. >> we welcome calls for our guest and annie is next on democrats line and good morning. >> if yes, i'm concerned that the opening up the funding to religious schools, there's no limit at what kind of religious schools and is not just a catholic, and is going to be you know, every thing and even some that they make up and i don't know, he just kind of concerns me or you know, can the government bike, determine what can be taught in schools of the going to be funding it and i
just don't know i have a lot of questions about that in thank you. >> so go ahead. >> yes sure, i think those are legitimate thingsse to think abt and i don't think there is a problem letting different religions displayed in society, i personally represent jewish schools, muslim schools and others and i think they deserve just as much support as a christian schools and i should say, the children of the parents of the children wanted to go to the christian schools in the casese yesterday but, absolutel, also to the jewish in the muslim schools and it is not going to allow someone to make up a religion and then, that's going to allow them access to and
remember this is something already available to any private school, except for the religious schools and some something that's's legitimate printed schl is allowed to get, these are not sort of like extra thing being done for religious entities, the same role being applied ites to everybody. >> does a religious school that takes government aid state government eight, do they open themselves up to criticism and i do not or if they do decided on admissions to the school based on the religion and do not admit people not of that religion or certainly not of that faith i should say. >> think so, some sort of program that was a general benefit it may be that would work but youou know think that everybody agrees that the example that if a religious
school catches on fire, you can send the public and publicly funded fire department over there and just as you would to a private school or any private school public school or whateve' and so i don't think there is really a great reason to say that okay because you only allow jewish people to attend the school, risen people or catholic people, that is becoming a reason to exclude you from the generally available benefits might be different if the programs has something like okay, we are going to you know, have a few teach ukrainian and we want to foster people from the ukrainian and and maybe would have a different situation but this is generally a available benefits to necklace here in brooklyn on the
independent learning good morning. >> good morning guys, i do have a comment you know, this country was partially built on people cann come here they can practice the religion or not practice the religion and not be you know, exposed to other ideas and today we live in a country where court's overrun religious maps and we should have expectations for constitutions should be followed and what you're doing sir, is basically taking over and that is my comment. >> it okay, eric, any thoughts on that. >> well i disagree absolutely and i do think that this country was founded by allowing people
of all different religions to practice their faith and people who don't have any faith, and you know i've been privileged enough to represent people of those different faith backgrounds including many people from emigrating from around the world often these communities are the least understood.ie any for excluded and some other way have been privileged to represent them to try to make sure that they get equal standing and treatment within our society and so, i guess i just respectfully feel like the caller may be missing the point about what is going on with the religion society, with the first religiously diverse society in history and except possibly via and effectively can all live with with one another is really
quite remarkable achievement. >> new york times article we showed earlier a picture of a couple of the plaintiffs in the case, lydia carson, her mother amy carson, andth in their piece on the ruling yesterday, and his majority opinion, on tuesday come the chief justice john roberts rejected the argument that maine should be free to try to replicate a public school experience which does not include religious instruction in the private schools and programs support zero, were themselves a different from maine's public schools are in a sort of the most obvious is the chief justice private schools are different by definition it because they do not have to accept all of the students in chief justice road adding to the curriculum taught of the participating private schools need not even resemble that talk in maine public schools in your
thoughts on the chief justice, is there. >> i think it is exactly right, again is important for the listeners to understand maine does not have to provide tuition support to the kids in the rural. house and you can just say, we need to set up a school or you cneed to pay your way to go to school or you need to move to more populous part of main and they could do that they could set up in boarding school what they've chosen to do is have the generally available benefits and under that generally available benefit is event mender started for decades and decades now and i don't get the curriculum innocence of trying to force like the public school curriculum and so the only part that i really disagree us with that maine is somehow trying to
replicate whatever the public school by giving someone money to attend miss order school in connecticut where other very - new england boarding schools and you know, and you can spend the money to go there get a benefit to go there, then why can't you send them to parochial school demonstrate. >> let's hear from robin in santa fe new mexico on the independent line. >> good morning, i seem to be behind what is going on on the tv which is interesting.t >> just listen to the phone there and turn down your volume and go ahead with your comment or question. >> okay, so i wanted to know, was the funding going to the schools to the students.
>> it follows the students, students with the money and they can use it for tuition, i can only use it to pay for tuition but it is a benefit that tracks the children and that's why the plaintiff's in this case are not actually schools, it is the parents of children they want to send their children to a different school. >> you have an idea believe how much that is per student. >> i don't afraid. >> let's hear from joan the republican line in rochester, minnesota good morning. >> good morning and my concern is that is when you take away people's ability for versatility and i believe the people that have the private schools will find that there schools are
under a church name, just like any other school, which is not what i r thank you so the right thing to do and i think that is the goal of praying up the money for the richer schools and i think if you're going to be a private school, say private school and going to be a religious school, stay a religious school if you going to be a public-school coming state public and the rules the same as they are now and i think that is doing something that i don't agree with and i think that's what the goal is and thank you. >> eric it. >> sure, you know i think it is a great question but is based on a false statute and essay is 80 percent of the schools that are private schools in maine that would be eligible to participate in this program that were not religious and
20 percent are religious. this is about the 20 percent and the 80 percent already get the money and they have for decades and decades and so this is sort of this really trojan horse aspect to this where private schools dubbed themselves to be religious in the right get the advent to participate this is actually program where these nonreligious schools and private schools, of whatever sort have been able to participate the whole time and this is just about whether the religious schools are able to participate as well. >> what your true thoughts on the internal opinion piece in the pushback on stephen breyer concerns or the establishment clause in the conclude there editorial as for the establishment clause, why not that many flowers bloom us as the wall street journal of evangelical paris take the tuition to even jelly schools in
jewish to the jewish schools and buddhist to buddhist, he would be hard to see that come as a government establishment of religion they write thatio pluralism is the answer to might that futures many parents are now discovering objections to other local public schools are teaching. >> i agree with the idea this is a system that's a decision that supports pluralism the country and allows societal institutions to this and so like we were talking about before the jewish schools in muslim schools and catholic schools, private schools, these are all allowed to participate in society and that's really all this being asked for here is that when the government starts giving out benefits, to one group of schools but does not get to exclude other schools just because they are religious or
religious parents participating so that is why i thank you so really important to think of this as and i agree with the color that i'm on this. >> let's hear from janet in michigan, democratic line. >> hello, i don't understand the premise right disagree with the premise that because there is not enough schools, man we should pay tuition so that these kids can go to religious schools and the school or me as a jewish school and my children are catholic, they cannot get in and i don't see how that benefits them of their still without a school and ill don't agree that they cannot have a public-school. back in the day where i am in this world, upper michigan, they had lots of one-room school houses and there is no reason
they cannot have a small school with multiple grades. i just think this is a bad bad thing to be finding these religious schools because we do not know, there's lots of different religions and right now the religious right is trying to take over the country and pressed their religion on everyone and i think this is very dangerous. >> eric, final thoughts. >> sure, we just went up to the color that i don't think michigan does have a program means and i support that you do not have to have this program, accounting spine on how easy it is to set up a one roomse schoolhouse like little house in the prairie, any particular place in the country but no one
is forcing maine to have this program they can get rid of this tomorrow if they want to go they cannot do is have a program in one specific class of people and that is with the court said is discrimination and a violation of the first amendment. >> he is vice president senior counsel for religious and thank you for joining us this morning. >> thank you for having me. >> cspan shop aggregate cspan's online store, browse art latest collectors cspan products, imperil, books, home decor, and accessories had there is something for every cspan fan every purchase help support a nonprofit operation, shop now, or anytime at c-spanshop.org. c-span's washington journal, everyday we are taking your calls live on the air, on the news of the day and we will
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