(RightWing.org) – In 2015, the Montana Legislature passed a bill allowing dollar-for-dollar tax credits for people who donate to groups that provide scholarship money to students in private schools. One organization did this and funded scholarships for 13 private academies, including 12 religious institutions. The state Supreme Court, however, struck down the tax credit and said the Montana Constitution bars religious schools from receiving aid. Now, the US Supreme Court has weighed in.
On June 30, the high court ruled 5-4 to strike down the ban on state aid for religious schools.
Roberts' majority opinion in Espinoza hinges on a provision of the Montana constitution that bars state money from going to religious schools. Roberts says that provision, as applied here, violates the free exercise clause of the U.S. constitution. pic.twitter.com/Mw1uVmTygj
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) June 30, 2020
Chief Justice John Roberts explained states don’t need to “subsidize private education.” However, once they take that step, they can’t just disqualify a private institution from receiving subsidies “solely because they are religious.”
The Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case upheld the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause which prohibits states from creating laws that impede the right of a person to exercise their religion freely. The decision is a major win for advocates of school choice. Kids and parents could have many more options now without being penalized for their faith.
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