Cite as: 536 U. S. 639 (2002)
Opinion of the Court
filiated private schools certainly did not arise as a result of the program; it is a phenomenon common to many American cities. See U. S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Private School Universe Survey: 1999-2000, pp. 2-4 (NCES 2001-330, 2001) (hereinafter Private School Universe Survey) (cited in Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 24). Indeed, by all accounts the program has captured a remarkable cross-section of private schools, religious and nonreligious. It is true that 82% of Cleveland's participating private schools are religious schools, but it is also true that 81% of private schools in Ohio are religious schools. See Brief for State of Florida et al. as Amici Curiae 16 (citing Private School Universe Survey). To attribute constitutional significance to this figure, moreover, would lead to the absurd result that a neutral school-choice program might be permissible in some parts of Ohio, such as Columbus, where a lower percentage of private schools are religious schools, see Ohio Educational Directory (Lodging of Respondents Gatton et al., available in Clerk of Court's case file), and Reply Brief for Petitioners in No. 00-1751, p. 12, n. 1, but not in inner-city Cleveland, where Ohio has deemed such programs most sorely needed, but where the preponderance of religious schools happens to be greater. Cf. Brief for State of Florida et al. as Amici Curiae 17 ("[T]he percentages of sectarian to nonsectarian private schools within Florida's 67 school districts . . . vary from zero to 100 percent"). Likewise, an identical private choice program might be constitutional in some States, such as Maine or Utah, where less
during the 1999-2000 school year. Post, at 704 (citing Brief for California Alliance for Public Schools as Amicus Curiae 15). These figures ignore the fact that the number of program students enrolled in nonreligious schools has widely varied from year to year, infra, at 659; e. g., n. 5, infra, underscoring why the constitutionality of a neutral choice program does not turn on annual tallies of private decisions made in any given year by thousands of individual aid recipients, infra, at 659 (citing Mueller v. Allen, 463 U. S. 388, 401 (1983)).
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