Politics Justice Sotomayor Expresses 'Growing Concern' for Separation of Church and State in Dissenting SCOTUS Opinion In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court sided with parents in Maine who sued over a policy that prevented the state from funding religious schools through a tuition assistance program By Aaron Parsley Aaron Parsley Aaron Parsley has been a part of PEOPLE's digital team for more than 15 years. People Editorial Guidelines Published on June 22, 2022 12:08 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Photo: Erin Schaff/AFP/ Getty Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor expressed her "growing concern" about the erosion of a foundational principle in American government. "This Court continues to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build," Sotomayor wrote in a dissenting opinion released Tuesday in a decision on the case of Carson v. Makin. In a 6-3 vote along ideological lines, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of striking down a policy in Maine that blocked religious schools from receiving taxpayer funds. Attorneys representing Maine argued that private religious schools should not be allowed to participate in a state-funded tuition assistance program based in part on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Justice Sonia Sotomayor Admits Potential for SCOTUS to Make 'Mistakes' but Explains Why She Still Has 'Faith' "As a result," Sotomayor wrote, "the Court has upended constitutional doctrine, shifting from a rule that permits States to decline to fund religious organizations to one that requires States in many circumstances to subsidize religious indoctrination with taxpayer dollars." Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan also voted in the minority, with Breyer writing his own dissenting opinion that Kagan joined him on. Supreme Court justices. Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, siding with a group of parents in Maine who sued over the law which excludes religious schools from the tuition assistance program. Roberts wrote for the majority that the state's non-religious requirement for participation violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. "The program operates to identify and exclude otherwise eligible schools on the basis of their religious exercise," he wrote. Sonia Sotomayor on Wise Words That Helped When 'People Said I Wasn't Smart Enough' for Supreme Court Sotomayor disagreed and called the majority opinion "especially perverse because the benefit at issue is the public education to which all of Maine's children are entitled under the State Constitution." "Today, the Court leads us to a place where separation of church and state becomes a constitutional violation," Sotomayor wrote in closing. "If a State cannot offer subsidies to its citizens without being required to fund religious exercise, any State that values its historic antiestablishment interests more than this Court does will have to curtail the support it offers to its citizens. With growing concern for where this Court will lead us next, I respectfully dissent."