Playground Case Could Breach Barrier Between Tax Coffers, Religious Schools Nina Totenberg – April 19, 20175:07 AM ET

Children play on a swing set at the Trinity Lutheran Child Learning Center playground in Columbia, Mo. Courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom

The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments Wednesday in a Missouri case with the potential to open grant programs to parochial schools.

Monday’s showdown pitting school choice and religious liberty advocates against taxpayer groups and civil libertarians has been long in coming. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley Pauley being the director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources at the time — in January 2016.

A month later, Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly, leaving an eight-justice court that was deeply divided on questions concerning the separation of church and state. For nearly a year and a half, the justices punted, declining to hear oral arguments in the case until the court was back up to full strength.

Now that day has come — sort of. A funny thing happened on the way to the Supreme Court that’s explained in detail below.

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