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Tilton v Richardson
403 US 672 (1971)

Sectarian Institution – One in which the propagation, teaching or practice of religion is

a meaningful and major part of its existence.

As defined in the case of Walz v Tax Commission of New York – One whose
dominant policy is to assure future adherence to a particular faith by having control of
their total education by having to a particular faith, by having control of their total
education of an early age.

Facts of the Case:

This is a tax payer suit challenging both the interpellation and secondarily the
constitutionality of Title I of the Higher Education Facilities Act of 1963.

The statute provides for grounds of federal funds to construct what is called
academic facilities at undergraduate educational institutions at the post-secondary level
and it defines academic facilities among others, as those which to exclude those used
for sectarian instruction or religious worship or any part of which the school which is part
of it, the school or department of divinity.

The act provides that a church-related college does not either statutorily or
constitutionally disqualify it from receiving federal funds.


Whether or not the act violates the religion clauses of the first amendment which
provides for the non-establishment of religion


No, the act does excessively entangle the government with religion.

However, the Court decided that the 20-year limitation portion of the Act violated
the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment.

Under the law, the subsidizing of the construction of facilities used for non-
secular purposes would have the effect of advancing religion. Thus the court finds the
20-year clause invalid.

The Court further held that church-related institutions in question had not used their
federally-funded facilities for religious activities, and the facilities were the same as a
university facility. The court also said that college students are less susceptible to
religious indoctrination and the aid of the government was no that ideological in nature,
adding further that one time grants does not require state surveillance.