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Supreme Court Gives Big Win to School Choice Programs

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that state-provided assistance can be used to pay for tuition at religious schools giving more power to parents that are increasingly seeking alternatives to public education.

The court, in a 6-3 decision, decided that a Maine tuition assistance program was in violation of the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause as it provided the assistance unless it was to be used at a religious or sectarian school.

“Maine’s ‘nonsectarian’ requirement for its otherwise generally available tuition assistance payments violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court’s opinion in Carson v. Maykin. “Regardless of how the benefit and restriction are described, the program operates to identify and exclude otherwise eligible schools on the basis of their religious exercise.”

Maine chose to add the exclusion to its program in 1981 as it felt the use of the funds at a religious school would go against the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Roberts argued that as parents make the choice of where the money goes, not the government, there is no conflict with the Constitution.

“[A] neutral benefit program in which public funds flow to religious organizations through the independent choices of private benefit recipients does not offend the Establishment Clause,” Roberts wrote.

This clear ruling will aid school choice efforts and parents who wish to avoid the travesty that public education has become.

Roberts, Kavanaugh, Thomas, Gorsuch, Coney Barrett, and Alito ruled against the Maine exclusion, while Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor ruled in favor of keeping it.

In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor used the age-old progressive claim that by allowing parents to decide how they spend taxpayer money on education, the separation of church and state was being attacked.

“[The court] continues to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build,” and expressed “growing concern for where this Court will lead us next.”

That separation was, and should still be, intended to protect religious institutions from the government, not the other way around. Maybe America needs a wall separating government from education.

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Rich Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News and the president of Bald Eagle Media, LLC. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Bald Eagle Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and

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