SCOTUS strikes down Maine voucher program that discriminated against religious schools

By Reagan Reese

The Supreme Court struck down a Maine education policy Tuesday that excluded religious schools from a private school tuition assistance program.

In Carson v. Makin, the court ruled 6-3 against the program which excluded students attending religious K-12 schools from taxpayer-provided tuition assistance, according to the ruling. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion of the court, which was supported by Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

The program provided tuition assistance for students in Maine without a nearby public school to attend a private school. However, the court found the program violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

“Indeed, were we to accept Maine’s argument, our decision in Espinoza would be rendered essentially meaningless. … But our holding in Espinoza turned on the substance of free exercise protections, not on the presence or absence of magic words,” Roberts wrote.

In July 2021, the court announced they would hear Carson v. Makin after the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled against parents in October 2020. The previous ruling stated that Maine was not discriminating against religious schools but just choosing not to provide tuition assistance.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in the dissenting opinion that the decision further mixes church and state relations.

“This Court continues to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build,” she wrote.

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3 thoughts on “SCOTUS strikes down Maine voucher program that discriminated against religious schools

  1. The money should follow the child in whatever the PARENT sees as the child’s best interest. End of Story. I ve said this for years and years……Parents; this is one thing you do not get a “do-over” on, make the best choice for your child and fight for it……NEA be damned. a healthy dose of competition is sorely needed in the public school system…….

  2. The Teachers Unions are going bonkers I bet! They are losing their monopoly on child indoctrination.. It will be hilarious to see the response when parents can now go to their school Districts/Boards and demand a LARGE checks from them….taxpayer monies….so they can get their kid the hell out of what the NEA is teaching kids these days. It will HURT some schools, who will LOSE pupils, which hurts their PER PUPIL funding for their school, to private ones.!

    Sotomayer is only there to protect the Union-Progressive-Liberal sides..and she does it by “interpreting” the constitution as she wants. That is far different than “following” or “reading” the constitution….she moulds things as she see’s fit….for an agenda. As much as Clarence Thomas is hated…he is a “textualist” of the constitution’s actual words.

  3. The first amendment says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; …

    Justice Sonia Sotomayor has misinterpreted the amendment. As long as there are alternatives to any religious schools, a government funded voucher does nothing, I repeat – nothing – to ‘establish’ religion.

    On the other hand, to not allow parents to use a voucher to choose a religious school, especially when non-religious alternatives are available, again, IS an infringement of the first amendment’s ‘free exercise’ clause.

    Clearly, SCOTUS justices can, and have in the past, made questionable observations. And when they do, it always seems to be a personal politicized perspective. What business is it of Sotomayor’s, acting as the third leg of our governmental triumvirate, to decide where a student chooses to go to school? Doesn’t she realize that she is acting as a part of ‘the government’ when she submits an opinion as a justice? It’s the parent’s choice, not Sotomayor’s. The justices concurring with this decision aren’t ‘establishing a religion’. Just the opposite. They realize it’s none of their business. But Sotomayor, apparently, can’t help herself.

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