"US Supreme Court West Facade" by Matt Wade / CC BY-SA 3.0

Supreme Court hands victory to school voucher lobby – will religious minorities, nonbelievers and state autonomy lose out?

Jul 7, 2020

By Frank S. Ravitch

The Supreme Court’s recent decision that Montana cannot exclude donations that go to religious schools from a small tax credit program could have consequences felt far beyond the state.

The 5-4 ruling in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, which came down June 30, follows on from recent cases that have expanded what counts as discrimination against religion under the U.S. Constitution, making it harder for states to deny grants to faith-based institutions.

From my perspective as a scholar of law and religion, this latest ruling could massively limit states’ ability to exclude religious schools from all sorts of funding, including controversial voucher programs which allow state funds to be used by parents to send children to a private school. And rather than preventing religious discrimination, the court’s decision may actually support a system that discriminates against religious minorities and those of no faith.

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