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Supreme Court Denies Religious Building Preservation Funds Case

The Supreme Court as seen on a morning last month.
Jacquelyn Martin
The Supreme Court as seen on a morning last month.

The U.S. Supreme Court let a ruling stand Monday from the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that said Morris County, N.J., may not give taxpayer funds to help preserve religious buildings, such as synagogues, temples, churches and mosques.

The county has a program for giving preservation funds for all local buildings. But New Jersey law, as recently interpreted by the state Supreme Court, prohibits counties from awarding grants to preserve religious buildings.

Those representing the religious institutions argued the state Supreme Court ruling amounted to unconstitutional discrimination against religion. But the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear this particular case, though indicated it should take this kind of case and the facts seemed murky in this one.

Conservative justices Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito dissented.

NOTE: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote two of the three opinions released Monday, one of which was argued when she was off the bench recovering from lung cancer surgery.

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Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.
Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.