In July 1995, the Wisconsin Legislature expanded an existing Milwaukee voucher program to include parochial and sectarian schools. In August 1995, AU and a coalition of civil, religious, and education groups filed a state court case challenging the law’s constitutionality (Jackson v. Benson). The state trial court entered a preliminary injunction against the program, and the defendants sought to challenge that injunction through an original action in the Wisconsin Supreme Court (Thompson v. Jackson). On March 29, 1996, however, the Wisconsin Supreme Court dismissed the original action and the case proceeded in the trial court. On January 15, 1997, the state trial court held that the expanded voucher plan violated the church-state provisions of the Wisconsin Constitution. That decision was affirmed by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals on August 2, 1997. However, on June 10, 1998, the Wisconsin Supreme Court reversed, finding the program constitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court denied review in November 1998.
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