Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203 (1997)

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AGOSTINI et al. v. FELTON et al.

certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the second circuit

No. 96-552. Argued April 15, 1997—Decided June 23, 1997*

In Aguilar v. Felton, 473 U. S. 402, 413, this Court held that New York

City's program that sent public school teachers into parochial schools to provide remedial education to disadvantaged children pursuant to Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 necessitated an excessive entanglement of church and state and violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. On remand, the District Court entered a permanent injunction reflecting that ruling. Some 10 years later, petitioners—the parties bound by the injunction—filed motions in the same court seeking relief from the injunction's operation under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(5). They emphasized the significant costs of complying with Aguilar and the assertions of five Justices in Board of Ed. of Kiryas Joel Village School Dist. v. Grumet, 512 U. S. 687, that Aguilar should be reconsidered, and argued that relief was proper under Rule 60(b)(5) and Rufo v. Inmates of Suffolk County Jail, 502 U. S. 367, 388, because Aguilar cannot be squared with this Court's intervening Establishment Clause jurisprudence and is no longer good law. The District Court denied the motion on the merits, declaring that Aguilar's demise has "not yet occurred." The Second Circuit agreed and affirmed.

Held: 1. A federally funded program providing supplemental, remedial instruction to disadvantaged children on a neutral basis is not invalid under the Establishment Clause when such instruction is given on the premises of sectarian schools by government employees under a program containing safeguards such as those present in New York City's Title I program. Accordingly, Aguilar, as well as that portion of its companion case, School Dist. of Grand Rapids v. Ball, 473 U. S. 373, addressing a "Shared Time" program, are no longer good law. Pp. 215-236. (a) Under Rufo, supra, at 384, Rule 60(b)(5)—which states that, "upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party . . . from a final judgment . . . [when] it is no longer equitable that the judgment

*Together with No. 96-553, Chancellor, Board of Education of the City of New York, et al. v. Felton et al., also on certiorari to the same court.


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