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On Tuesday, the US Supreme Court issued a five-to-four ruling upholding Montana’s school choice program which includes giving scholarships to qualified families whose children attend a private religious school. The court held that the state issuing such payments does not violate the US Constitution but prohibiting such religious schools from being part of the scholarship program does indeed violate the First Amendment’s Free Exercise clause. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the opinion for the majority, joined by Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.

Lindsey Burke writing for the Daily Signal, “In a 5-4 decision Tuesday, the Supreme Court held that families have a right to seek the best educational opportunities for their children, by preventing states from blocking the participation of religiously affiliated schools in state school choice programs.

“In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the court ruled that the application of a ‘no-aid’ provision in Montana’s Constitution violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, since it barred state tax credit scholarships from being used at private religious schools.

“In a huge win for families, the high court held that states cannot apply the ‘no-aid’ provision to discriminate against religious schools by excluding them from private school choice programs.
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Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch states, “The Supreme Court was right to rule that states can’t oust parents and children from neutral benefit programs simply because they choose a religious private school. This is consistent with the court’s 2017 decision in the ADF case Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, which unequivocally reaffirmed that states can’t impose ‘special disabilities on the basis of religious views or religious status.’ The court was right to not allow the dead hand of 19th century anti-Catholic bigotry—which motivated the state constitutional provision at issue here—to put a stranglehold on educational resources desperately needed by parents and their children.”

Julaine Appling, WFA president, says, “After a raft of disappointing Supreme Court decisions, we finally have one we can celebrate. This decision strengthens our Wisconsin school choice programs, which is good news for parents. While private religious schools have been able to participate in the voucher program since 1998, this decision makes it clear that the state cannot discriminate against a school just because it is religious.”

Wisconsin Family Action is your voice in the Badger State for religious freedom. Click HERE to partner with us securely today!

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