Supreme Court Takes Up Maine Private School Choice Case

This morning, the Supreme Court of the United States decided to take up a case in Maine on the topic of private school choice.

Maine’s private school choice program doesn’t allow families to take their children’s education dollars to private religious schools. This prohibition discriminates against religious families and flies in the face of the Espinoza v. Montana (2020) SCOTUS decision.

Statement from Tommy Schultz, CEO of the American Federation for Children:

“This is hopeful news for families and children. Last year, we saw the Supreme Court rule in favor of students in Montana, opening up more opportunity in that state and striking a blow to bigoted Blaine amendments nationwide. Now more than ever families are desperate for options when it comes to their child’s education. Today we celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision and are hopeful that the Court will do what’s right for parents and students by eliminating existing restrictions on opportunity and freedom in the great state of Maine.”

Details:

  • SCOTUS decided in Espinoza v. Montana (2020) that preventing families from taking their children’s education dollars to private schools because they were religious violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment
  • In Espinoza v. Montana (2020), Chief Justice Roberts said, “A state need not subsidize private education. But once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”
  • Despite the SCOTUS decision in Espinoza, the lower court ruled Maine’s program does not discriminate based on the school’s religious “status,” just the religious “use,” which amounts to a distinction without a difference