RELIGION

Justices signal support for church in closely watched case

  • In this photo taken Jan. 26, 2016, the empty playground at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo. Justice Neil Gorsuch's first week hearing Supreme Court arguments features a case that's giving school choice advocates hope for an easier use of public money for private, religious schools in dozens of states. The long-delayed argument Wednesday, April 19, 2017, deals with whether Missouri should pay for a soft surface at the church playground. (Annaliese Nurnberg/Missourian via AP)

    In this photo taken Jan. 26, 2016, the empty playground at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo. Justice Neil Gorsuch's first week hearing Supreme Court arguments features a case that's giving school choice advocates hope for an easier use of public money for private, religious schools in dozens of states. The long-delayed argument Wednesday, April 19, 2017, deals with whether Missouri should pay for a soft surface at the church playground. (Annaliese Nurnberg/Missourian via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Jan. 26, 2016, the empty playground at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo. Justice Neil Gorsuch's first week hearing Supreme Court arguments features a case that's giving school choice advocates hope for an easier use of public money for private, religious schools in dozens of states. The long-delayed argument Wednesday, April 19, 2017, deals with whether Missouri should pay for a soft surface at the church playground. (Annaliese Nurnberg/Missourian via AP)

    In this photo taken Jan. 26, 2016, the empty playground at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo. Justice Neil Gorsuch's first week hearing Supreme Court arguments features a case that's giving school choice advocates hope for an easier use of public money for private, religious schools in dozens of states. The long-delayed argument Wednesday, April 19, 2017, deals with whether Missouri should pay for a soft surface at the church playground. (Annaliese Nurnberg/Missourian via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Jan. 26, 2016, the empty playground at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo. Justice Neil Gorsuch's first week hearing Supreme Court arguments features a case that's giving school choice advocates hope for an easier use of public money for private, religious schools in dozens of states. The long-delayed argument Wednesday, April 19, 2017, deals with whether Missouri should pay for a soft surface at the church playground. (Annaliese Nurnberg/Missourian via AP)

    In this photo taken Jan. 26, 2016, the empty playground at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo. Justice Neil Gorsuch's first week hearing Supreme Court arguments features a case that's giving school choice advocates hope for an easier use of public money for private, religious schools in dozens of states. The long-delayed argument Wednesday, April 19, 2017, deals with whether Missouri should pay for a soft surface at the church playground. (Annaliese Nurnberg/Missourian via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The Supreme Court is signaling that it'll rule for a Missouri church that wants state money to put a soft surface on its preschool playground.

The case is being argued before the justices Wednesday — and it's being closely watched by proponents of school vouchers.

Liberal and conservative justices alike seem troubled by Missouri's decision to exclude the church from a grant program that pays for playground surfaces made of recycled tires.

The court doesn't appear ready to scuttle the case — even after Missouri's governor announced last week that he was changing the policy that said churches couldn't participate in the program.