Finally, some good news from the Supreme Court this morning! After horrible decisions over the past week (the definition of sex in federal non-discrimination law now includes sexual orientation and transgenderism and Louisiana was prevented from imposing even basic restrictions on abortion clinics) we received a huge win for religious liberty in the funding of schools.
This case was brought by Kendra Espinoza, a single mother in Montana whose two daughters struggled in public schools. She moved them to private religious schools where they thrived. She paid for her daughters to attend these religious schools in part from tax credit scholarship funds and in part from working three jobs. But the Montana Department of Revenue shut down the entire scholarship program rather than let parents like Kendra use the money for their children’s education at a religious school.
Fortunately, the Supreme Court decided today that states cannot block equal access to generally available public benefits, such as the tax-credit funded scholarships in this case, just because parents chose to use them to send their children to religious schools.
MFI’s Vice Chair of the Board, Michael Gilleran, is a local attorney who filed a friend of the court brief in the Espinoza case before the US Supreme Court. Justice Alito cited that brief in his concurring opinion. I had the pleasure of talking with Michael about today’s decision earlier this afternoon. You can watch that conversation below:
As Michael points out, today’s decision will provide vast new educational opportunities for many students and their families. Study after study shows that poor and minority children thrive outside of inner-city public schools. Others, as Justice Alito says in his concurring opinion, may “believe that their local schools inculcate a worldview that is antithetical to what they teach at home.” We look forward to seeing private religious education strengthened and new alternatives to public schools blossom across the nation.