The U.S. Supreme Court handed supporters of school choice and private religious schools a major victory Tuesday, ruling that a Montana tax credit scholarship program does not violate the federal constitution if the money is used by parents for religious schooling.
At issue was a Montana program that gives individuals a tax credit up to $150 each year for donating to privately run student scholarship organizations. Those organizations then award scholarships to parents who send their children to private schools of their choice.
The Montana Supreme Court struck down the program and ruled it violated the state constitution because the money can be used for religious schools. The state constitution prohibits religious schools receiving government money in either a “direct or indirect” way. It’s sometimes called the “no aid provision” or the Blaine Amendment.
Parents of children who attended a Christian school in northwestern Montana brought the suit and then filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.
Chief Justice John Roberts, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that the state’s application of the Montana constitution discriminated against religious schools and families in violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Roberts was joined in the opinion by the court’s conservative justices: Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil…
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