School Choice Returns to the Supreme Court

Espinoza V. Montana Department of Revenue2020: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, “Can a state provide educational subsidies that enable parents to send their children into private schools?” This was an important victory for religious liberty and school choice advocates.

These advocates might now be close to another victory. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument. Carson v. MakinThis case examines the question of whether Maine’s tuition aid program was in violation of the Constitution, exclusions private schools offering “sectarian education”.

The tuition assistance program is open to religious schools that “satisfy all secular requirements.” Michael Bindas (the lawyer representing the family who challenged the policy) stated that it is because they practice religion that they are exempt. You can also call it discrimination due to religious beliefs. This can be called discrimination on the basis of religious status. You can call it discrimination based solely on religious status, but it’s unconstitutional.

Christopher Taub was the chief deputy attorney-general for Maine. He offered an alternative view. Taub explained to the Court that while the Court clarified the rights of the government to determine the extent of financial benefits in order for it to make its value judgments and even if doing so could disadvantage activities protected under the First Amendment, the Court also recognized the power of the government to do this. The federal government should not provide financial assistance to families planning services if it is used for abortion discussions. A state should also be allowed to make tuition payments to children whose religious beliefs are not promoted by the school.

Chief Justice John Roberts told Taub, “Let’s suppose that you have two schools.” “School A is run by Religion A,” which has nothing in its “doctrine about propagating the faith…so it does look just like a public school, but it’s owned by religion.” “Religion B” also runs a school and requires that children be educated in their faith.

“Would the funding go to the first school?” Roberts inquired Taub.

“Yes,” replied the lawyer for state.

“Would you like to go to the second school?” Roberts was interested in following up.

Taub responded, “No, “Because [Religion B’s]Program is specially designed to instill and promote religion among students.

Roberts stated, “And the religions that do not”

Taub said, “That’s correct.”

So you are discriminating between religions based upon their beliefs, isn’t it? Roberts concluded.

Taub denied that description, but it wasn’t clear that the Court would agree with him.

A decision in Carson v. MakinThis is likely to happen by June end.