Witters v. Washington Department of Services for the Blind

474 U.S. 481 (1986).

A 1986 U.S. Supreme Court opinion in which the Court unanimously held a state program to be constitutional which provided vocational rehabilitation assistance to physically disabled students and that was used by a blind student at a Christian college.

The Court noted that the purpose of the program was secular as it was designed to promote the well-being of the visually handicapped through the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, and no more than a minuscule amount of the aid awarded under the program was likely to flow to religious institutions.  The Court further reasoned that the purpose of the program was not to advance religion because the aid was available to all qualifying students without regard to the sectarian-nonsectarian, or public-nonpublic nature of the institution benefitted.

Finally, there was not any government monitoring involved in the program and, therefore, there was not any concern of excessive government entanglement with religion.

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