The Supreme Court has ruled that a ban on taxpayer funding for religious schools is unconstitutional giving a major win to religious freedom and school choice.
According to Fox News:
The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a ban on taxpayer funding for religious schools, in a narrow but significant win for the school choice movement.
In the 5-4 ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court essentially backed a Montana tax-credit scholarship program that gave residents up to a $150 credit for donating to private scholarship organizations, helping students pay for their choice of private schools. The state’s revenue department made a rule banning those tax-credit scholarships from going to religious schools before the state’s supreme court later struck down the entire program.
“A State need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious,” Roberts wrote in the court’s opinion.
Under the program, a family receiving a scholarship originally could use it at any “qualified education provider,” which the court’s opinion noted means “any private school that meets certain accreditation, testing, and safety requirements.” The Montana Department of Revenue, citing the state constitution, then changed the definition of “qualified education provider” to exclude those “owned or controlled in whole or in part by any church, religious sect, or denomination.” This was over the objection of the state attorney general.
Roberts stated in his opinion that the Supreme Court has: “repeatedly held that the Establishment Clause is not offended when religious observers and organizations benefit from neutral government programs.”
This showed that the scholarship program did not violate the constitution a point which both sides agreed upon.