Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School Dist., 509 U.S. 1, 15 (1993)

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Cite as: 509 U. S. 1 (1993)

Blackmun, J., dissenting

principles regarding the institution of judicial review and this Court's proper role in our federal system, ibid.

Respondent School District makes two arguments that could provide grounds for affirmance, rendering consideration of the constitutional question unnecessary. First, respondent maintains that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U. S. C. 1400 et seq., does not require it to furnish James Zobrest with an interpreter at any private school so long as special education services are made available at a public school. The United States endorses this interpretation of the statute, explaining that "the IDEA itself does not establish an individual entitlement to services for students placed in private schools at their parents' option." Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 13. And several courts have reached the same conclusion. See, e. g., Goodall v. Stafford County School Bd., 930 F. 2d 363 (CA4), cert. denied, 502 U. S. 864 (1991); McNair v. Cardimone, 676 F. Supp. 1361 (SD Ohio 1987), aff'd sub nom. Mc-Nair v. Oak Hills Local School Dist., 872 F. 2d 153 (CA6 1989); Work v. McKenzie, 661 F. Supp. 225 (DC 1987). Second, respondent contends that 34 CFR 76.532(a)(1) (1992), a regulation promulgated under the IDEA, which forbids the use of federal funds to pay for "[r]eligious worship, instruction, or proselytization," prohibits provision of a sign-language interpreter at a sectarian school. The United States asserts that this regulation does not preclude the relief petitioners seek, Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 23, but at least one federal court has concluded otherwise. See Goodall, supra. This Court could easily refrain from deciding the constitutional claim by vacating and remanding the case for consideration of the statutory and regulatory issues. Indeed, the majority's decision does not eliminate the need to resolve these remaining questions. For, regardless of the Court's views on the Establishment Clause, petitioners will not obtain what they seek if the federal stat-


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