My NBC News Article on Today’s Supreme Court Ruling Barring Discrimination Against Religious Schools in Maine School Choice Program
Here is an excerpt:
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court struck down a Maine law that excluded most religious private schools from a voucher program that is in place in similar secular schools. The 6-3 decision in Carson v. Makin is an important victory for the constitutional principle that government may not discriminate on the basis of religion. It may also help open up valuable opportunities for parents and students, particularly the disadvantaged.
In 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue that a state-run voucher program may not exclude religious schools simply because of their “status” as religious institutions. As Chief Justice John Roberts reiterated in his opinion for the court Tuesday, a state may not “withhold otherwise available public benefits from religious organizations” simply because they are religious….
Until now, the state of Maine has subsidized the cost of private schools providing the equivalent of a secular public school curriculum for the roughly 5,000 children who live in districts (school administrative units, in Maine parlance) too sparsely populated to support their own public school. However, Maine refuses to subsidize attendance at private schools with a religious curriculum in these areas….
Defenders of the Maine voucher program, including Justice Stephen Breyer in his dissenting opinion, claimed this was not a case of religious discrimination because the program did not exclude religiously affiliated schools as such, but rather only those that are “sectarian”— which the state Department of Education defined as an institution that, “in addition to teaching academic subjects, promotes the faith or belief system with which it is associated and/or presents the material taught through the lens of this faith.”
This distinction makes little sense…. a
Article from Reason.com