Supreme Court makes religious school education eligible for public aid
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court delivered a major victory Tuesday to parents seeking state aid for their children's religious school education.
The court's conservative majority ruled that states offering scholarships to students in private schools cannot exclude religious schools from such programs. The decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who has joined the liberal justices in three other major rulings this month.
The court stopped short of requiring states to fund religious education, ruling only that programs cannot differentiate between religious and secular private schools.
"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 said.
Three moms:Supreme Court battle over school choice may boost religious freedom
It was a decision long sought by proponents of school choice and vehemently opposed by teachers' unions, who fear it could drain needed tax dollars from struggling public schools.
The case was brought by three mothers from Montana who sought $500 tuition scholarships funded by a state tax credit program. The state's supreme court struck down the program, citing the separation of church and state and prompting state officials to deny funds to secular schools as well.
The Supreme Court's liberal justices seized on that point in three separate dissents. They said Montana solved the discrimination by ending the program.
"Petitioners may still send their children to a religious school," Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said. "There simply are no scholarship funds to be had ...
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