Constitutionality of Section 7(b)(3) of the Emergency Veterans’ Job Training Act of 1983

Headnotes: 

The statute’s exclusion of religious activities from the ambit of activities for which the Veterans’ Administration may fund training does not violate the Free Exercise Clause.

The statute’s inclusion in the program of institutions that are religiously-affiliated but not pervasively sectarian does not violate the Establishment Clause. The inclusion of pervasively sectarian institutions is also constitutional, so long as the selection of the institution is the result of the genuinely independent and private choice of the veteran.

The Veterans’ Administration may constitutionally prescribe by regulation criteria to distinguish between religious and nonreligious activities.

General considerations that may aid in promulgating regulations to distinguish between religious and nonreligious activities include, at a minimum, (1) whether the activity is also traditionally performed in nonreligious organizations and (2) the degree to which the activity is informed and affected by the religious tenets of the organization.

Updated July 9, 2014