Politics

School choice wins big at Supreme Court, atheists and teachers unions lose

Chief Justice John Robert this time votes with the conservatives.

Image Credit: SupremeCourt.gov

The problem with calling U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts a liberal or a conservative, as this publication has admittedly done, is that the next day he will turn you into a liar or a poor analyst. Such as it was on Tuesday, when the high court struck down a ban on taxpayer funding for religious schools. Roberts voted with the conservatives on the issue Monday, on an abortion case, he voted with the liberals. Actually, if anything his recent rulings smack of a libertarian bent.

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In the 5-4 ruling, authored by Roberts, the court backed a Montana tax-credit scholarship that gave state residents up to a $150 credit for donating to private scholarship programs. The donation helped 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. Tuesday’s SCOTUS decision overturns the state court and is a massive win for conservatives, advocates of school choice, parents, and students. The hard left, teachers unions, and atheists will not be happy with the ruling.

“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 majority opinion. “When the Court was called upon to apply a state law no-aid provision to exclude religious schools from the program, it was obligated by the Federal Constitution to reject the invitation.”

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg insisted that there was no constitutional violation because the program ended up being shut down entirely, leaving families from all schools in the same position. That position was being excluded from a public program on the basis of their faith. Justice Sonia Sotomayor argued in her own opinion that the Montana state court decision was based on state law having nothing to do with the Free Exercise (of faith) Clause. In his opinion Roberts rejected those theories because “[t]he program was eliminated by a court, and not based on some innocuous principle of state law.”

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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.” When that was overturned in Montana, parents sued. “I feel that we’re being excluded simply because we are people of religious background, or because our children want to go to a religious school,” said Kendra Espinoza, a lead plaintiff in the case. “We’re here to stand up for our rights as people of faith to have the same opportunities that a secular schoolchild would have.”

This high court decision may have national and wide-ranging repercussions. If the very PC indoctrination system in the public schools is balanced out with a more traditional brand of education and knowledge then young people may not leave the school system programmed to hate their nation and it’s history, as is sadly the case in many schools today.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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