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St. Martin Evangelical Lutheran Church v. South Dakota, which reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981, helped to clarify both state and federal laws pertaining to the payment of unemployment compensation taxes by private, church-owned, church-managed schools. In sum, the Supreme Court did not have to address issues related to separation of church and state in St. Martin. Instead, the Court resolved the dispute on the interpretation of the intent of the original legislators and the wording of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act's (FUTA's) amendments. The end result of St. Martin is that the Court concluded that religious schools were still exempted from having to pay unemployment taxes under FUTA.

Facts of the Case

The facts revealed that St. Martin Lutheran Church operated a Christian elementary ...

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