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Disability Rights and Religious Liberty in EducationThe Story behind Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School District$
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Bruce J Dierenfield and David A. Gerber

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043208

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043208.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

In Search of Religious Liberty

In Search of Religious Liberty

(p.99) 4 In Search of Religious Liberty
Disability Rights and Religious Liberty in Education

Bruce J. Dierenfield

David A. Gerber

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses the origins of the Zobrests’ lawsuit against their public school district in Tucson, which refused on constitutional grounds to pay for Jim’s sign language interpreter in a Catholic school. For the Zobrests, federal disability laws and the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause entitled Jim to have this essential service. What follows is an analysis of the zigzag line of thinking employed by the U.S. Supreme Court as it grappled with church-state issues in the twentieth century prior to its consideration of the Zobrest case. For years, two titans of constitutional law—Catholic neoconservative William Bentley Ball and civil libertarian Leo Pfeffer—battled over what was legally permissible with regard to freedom of religion. Ultimately, the court enunciated a controversial Lemon Test to address this thorny area of its jurisprudence.

Keywords:   Zobrest, Salpointe Catholic High School, First Amendment, Catalina Foothills School District, William Bentley Ball, religious freedom, disability law, US Supreme Court, Lemon Test

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