NEWS: Ruling Expected Next Week In Indiana Voucher Lawsuit

From The Northwest Indiana Times:

INDIANAPOLIS | A Marion County judge is set to rule next week on whether Indiana’s new school voucher program passes constitutional muster.

At issue in the request for a temporary injunction before Judge Michael Keele is whether vouchers undermine the Indiana Constitution’s mandate the state provide a tuition-free system of common schools open to all and violate the constitutional ban on state support of religious institutions.

Attorney John West, representing a group of Hoosiers challenging the voucher law, said during oral arguments Thursday there’s no question the voucher program is unconstitutional on both counts.

“When the constitution tells you that you’re to provide for the education of Indiana children through a general uniform system of common schools, it’s implicit in that that it can’t be done in another way, such as sending them all to private schools with vouchers,” West said.

West also emphasized the Indiana Constitution says no person shall be compelled to support any place of worship or ministry and “no money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit or any religious or theological institution.”

Defending the law, Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher argued the constitution only prohibits a direct tax to support a church and said the General Assembly is free to spend general tax dollars however it wishes. He also questioned whether church-run schools are religious institutions.

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