New York v. Cathedral Academy

RESPONDENT:Cathedral Academy
LOCATION:University Medical Center

DOCKET NO.: 76-616
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: New York Court of Appeals

CITATION: 434 US 125 (1977)
ARGUED: Oct 03, 1977
DECIDED: Dec 06, 1977

Jean M. Coon – for appellant
Richard E. Nolan – for appellee

Facts of the case


Media for New York v. Cathedral Academy

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – October 03, 1977 in New York v. Cathedral Academy

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – December 06, 1977 in New York v. Cathedral Academy

Warren E. Burger:

The judgments and opinion of the Court in 76-616, New York against Cathedral Academy will be announced by Mr. Justice Stewart.

Potter Stewart:

This case is here by way of a direct appeal from the Court of Appeals of New York.

In April of 1972, a three-judge United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, declared unconstitutional New York’s Mandated Services Act, which authorized fixed payments to nonpublic schools as reimbursement for the cost of certain record keeping and testing services required by state law.

The court’s order permanently enjoined any payments under the Act, including reimbursement for expenses that schools had already incurred in the last half of the 1971-1972 school year.

This Court subsequently affirmed that judgment in a decision reported in Volume 413 of the United States reports.

Two months after the District Court’s decision, the New York State Legislature responded to it by enacting a law, that and I am quoting, “recognized a moral obligation to provide a remedy whereby schools may recover the complete amount of expenses incurred by them prior to June of 1972, in reliance on” the invalidated mandated services Act, and which conferred jurisdiction on the New York Court of Claims “to hear, audit and determine” the claims of nonprofit private schools for such expenses.

Thus the Act explicitly authorized what the District Court’s injunction had explicitly prohibited, reimbursement to sectarian schools for their expenses of performing state-mandated services through the 1971-1972 academic year.

The New York Court of Appeals upheld the validity of this new law, and its judgment is before us in the present case.

For the reasons stated and in an opinion file with the clerk today, we hold that the New York law is constitutionally invalid and accordingly we reverse the judgment of the New York Court of Appeals.

The Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Rehnquist have filed a dissenting statement and Mr. Justice White who also dissents has filed a separate dissenting opinion.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Stewart.