‘Discrimination Ends Today’: SCOTUS Strikes down Law Excluding Religious Schools
This is a great decision from the U.S. Supreme Court this week which the NZ media seemed to ignore, although ironically they’re watching the abortion ruling like a hawk.
U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled that excluding faith-based schools from a state’s private school voucher program “violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.” The court’s conservative-leaning bloc ruled 6-3 that state officials cannot restrict parents’ use of state funds to secular schools. An important case which has relevance to religious schools in New Zealand.
Read on for a summary of what transpired (source: The Washington Stand) …
U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled that excluding faith-based schools from a state’s private school voucher program “violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.” The court ruled 6-3 that state officials cannot restrict parents’ use of state funds to secular schools only.
“The [s]tate pays tuition for certain students at private schools — so long as the schools are not religious. That is discrimination against religion,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.
The justices agreed that any program given to all people must be available to people of faith, otherwise it’s a “violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” wrote Roberts.
The reasoning follows a previous Supreme Court ruling that held a “[s]tate need not subsidize private education. But once a [s]tate decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious” (Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, 2020).
Leftwing attorneys (acting in this instance for the state of Maine) acknowledged these precedents but argued their law did not discriminate against Christian schools based on their religious “status” but their religious “use.” Appears they’re using semantics to dance around the underlying agenda to only support secular education. They said religious schools could receive state funds, as long as they did not teach specifically Christian precepts — a distinction justices found unpersuasive.
“Parents’ fundamental right to direct the education of their children is honored in this ruling. A recent FRC Action survey found significant margins of support for school choice and religious freedom. The Carson v. Makin decision demonstrates that in this area of law, the will of the people and constitutional protections are in harmony,”
Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for education studies at Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand.
Constitutionalists, religious rights advocates, and school choice supporters praised this morning’s decision. “Parents in Maine, and all over the country, can now choose the best education for their kids without fearing retribution from the government,” said Kelly Shackelford, president of First Liberty Institute.
Today’s ruling will open up more options for parents fleeing schools whose focus has shifted toward critical race theory and controversial transgender ideologies, which most Americans reject.
“As our nation’s public schools have moved away from the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic towards sheer political indoctrination, more and more parents are seeking to opt out. Religious schools should be among the options available to them,” said Maureen Ferguson of The Catholic Association.
“Faith-based schools make an important contribution to their communities and are part of the foundation of America. Parents need more educational choices for their children.”