A 6 to 3 Supreme Court majority has ruled the government can’t treat people of faith like second-class citizens by letting taxpayer money go to some private schools, but not religious private schools. Not surprisingly, the court’s three liberals disagreed.
The majority ruled that Maine could not exclude religious schools from a school choice program designed to expand options for parents. Chief Justice Roberts wrote that the State “‘effectively penalizes the free exercise of religion” when it prohibits parents from choosing religious options.
The Maine decision will have far-reaching implications in other states. It effectively invalidates the “Blaine Amendments” found in well over half of the nation’s state constitutions. These provisions, passed at a time of religious bigotry against Catholic and Jewish schools, have been used by teachers’ unions to strike down school choice efforts. That sordid tactic is thankfully coming to an end, opening up the chances for more school choice options across the country.