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SCOTUS considers public aid to religious schools

New York Teacher

The U.S. Supreme Court will be ruling on a high-profile case that could narrow the separation between church and state and open the door to more public aid for religious schools. The case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, examines a 2018 Montana court ruling that determined a state tax credit scholarship program that allowed participants to attend private schools, including religious schools, violated Montana’s constitution.

School choice advocates view the case as a way to overturn so-called Blaine Amendments, constitutional provisions in nearly 40 states blocking public funds from going to religious education.

Critics say a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs, who are backed by the Trump administration, would require taxpayers to underwrite religious institutions — despite the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on government establishment of religion. They also caution that some of these religious institutions discriminate against LGBT students or employees.

The justices, who heard oral arguments in the case on Jan. 22, appear split largely along partisan lines, with Chief Justice John Roberts emerging as the swing vote. Their ruling is expected by the end of June.

Politico, Jan. 22
Reuters, Jan. 22