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Private schooling wins tax victory

In a major victory for the Reagan administration, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that states may grant tax relief to parents for the costs of sending their children to private schools.

The administration is pushing Congress to grant similar federal income tax relief for private-school tuition and costs.

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The court upheld a Minnesota law that allows state income tax deductions for certain school expenses. Opponents argued the law is an unconstitutional entanglement with religion, because it primarily benefits parents of children attending church-related, nonpublic schools.

In other action, the high court ordered into effect on July 1 a new Minnesota law denying federal financial aid to students who fail to register for the draft. The justices lifted a Minnesota federal judge's injunction that would have blocked the law from taking effect.

The court also ruled 5 to 4 that the criminally insane may be held indefinitely in mental hospitals until they can prove they no longer are mentally ill or dangerous. The justices upheld the District of Columbia's commitment procedures for those found innocent of crimes by reason of insanity. This incarceration can be longer than the jail sentence that would have been handed down had the same person been convicted.

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