Montana's decision to leave religious schools out of a state scholarship program funded by tax credits violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a divided Supreme Court ruled this morning.
The case is No. 18-1195 Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. Oral arguments took place January 22.
The decision comes as surveys show support for President Donald Trump slipping among religious conservatives and could provide a needed buoy to his supporters as a Court he purported to stack with conservative jurists has delivered victories for liberals on abortion and LGBT rights in recent days.
"Today's decision violates Montana's commitment to public education, our children, and our constitution". For decades DeVos has devoted her professional life to finding ways to make taxpayers pay for private education.
"The Montana Department of Revenue can not prohibit students from receiving privately funded scholarship funds just because they choose to attend a religious school".
School-choice advocates are claiming victory after a long-awaited U.S.
The program made no distinction as to whether parents could use the scholarships at religious or secular schools. The top state court struck down the scholarship program in 2018 because it could be used to pay for religious schools. But if a state chooses to support private schools through grants or scholarships, it may not exclude some of them due to their religious affiliation.
The White House said in a statement that "today's Supreme Court decision on religious schools. removes one of the biggest obstacles to better educational opportunities for all children".
The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that states may not exclude religious schools from tuition grants that support other private schools. Supreme Court ruling with potential Idaho impacts. In addition, Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch each filed a separate concurring opinion. "At a time when public schools nationwide already are grappling with protecting and providing for students despite a pandemic and mounting budget shortfalls, the court has made things even worse opening the door for further attacks on state decisions not to fund religious schools". "Without any need or power to do so, the Court appears to require a State to reinstate a tax-credit program that the Constitution did not demand in the first place". "Nor could they. We have repeatedly held that the Establishment Clause is not offended when religious observers and organizations benefit from neutral government programs".
The decision followed the Supreme Court's 2017 ruling that churches and other religious entities can not be flatly denied public money even in states with constitutions explicitly banning such funding. Thirty-eight states have such constitutional provisions.
Laws banning funding of religious schools are "certainly rooted in ... grotesque religious bigotry against Catholics", Kavanaugh said.
"The Montana Constitution discriminates based on religious status, '" Roberts wrote. In the past, school choice advocates maintained a modest posture in the High Court, asking the justices to uphold low-dollar voucher programs in OH and Arizona.
This is a developing story.
The dispute began when state tax officials limited the programme to non-religious schools to comport with the state constitution's prohibition on "direct or indirect" public aid to any church or "school, academy, seminary, college, university or other literary or scientific institution controlled in whole or in part by any church, sect, or denomination".