School Choice Arizonans Applaud SCOTUS Ruling On Religious Schools

supreme court
East façade of the Supreme Court Building. [Photo courtesy U.S. Supreme Court]

Across Arizona pro-school choice advocates are hailing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of parents using state tuition assistance for religious schools. The ruling in Carson v. Makin is seen as a victory for the First Amendment.

Maine operates a tuition assistance program for high school students since more than half of its school districts do not have a high school. However, Maine has specifically excluded any type of “sectarian” school from that program. Because of this religious exclusion, families must either forgo an education benefit to which they are statutorily entitled, or send their children to a school that will not best meet their needs.

Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom and Jones Day had argued for that result in a friend-of-the-court brief they filed on behalf of the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty.

“When the government offers parents school choice, it can’t take away choices that are deemed ‘too religious’ or withhold funds from those who choose religious schools when the state offers those funds to everybody else,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch. “Today’s decision from the Supreme Court affirms our country’s abiding principle of religious liberty and, importantly, allows Maine parents the freedom to send their children to schools that align with their beliefs.”

The exclusion of religious schools violates the First Amendment rights of parents says Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich because it
discriminates against schools and parents based on the religious status of the schools that parents choose for their children.

SCOTUS held that the state of Maine violated the Constitution by prohibiting students from choosing to use their tuition aid to attend schools that provide religious instruction.

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