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At issue in Wolman v. Walter (1977) was a challenge to a statute from Ohio that provided a variety of types of aid to nonpublic, mostly religiously affiliated schools and their students; more specifically, 691 of the 720 charted nonpublic schools were religiously based. Among the benefits in dispute were textbooks for subjects in secular instruction, standardized testing and scoring services, diagnostic speech and hearing services, remedial services, an array of instructional materials, and the use of school buses for field trips for nonpublic school students. In the initial round of litigation, a federal trial court upheld the statute against all challenges.

On further review, a fractured U.S. Supreme Court, in a majority opinion by Justice Blackmun that resulted in six additional opinions from the ...

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