WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that states cannot discriminate against parents and students who want to practice their religion through their choice of a K-12 school. The court invalidated a Maine law that prohibited families from using school choice funds for private religious-affiliated schools when a public school is not available in their area. The court affirmed that a neutral benefit program that gives public funds to religious organizations, through the independent choices of the recipients of those benefits, does not violate the Constitution's establishment clause.
Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts made the following statement Tuesday about this victory for school choice:
“The ruling is yet another victory over the biased and archaic Blaine amendments that restrict Americans’ First Amendment freedoms and, sadly, still remain on the books of many state constitutions. In 2019, the Supreme Court knocked down Montana’s Blaine Amendment, and now Maine’s Blaine amendment is the next to fall. The court has once again protected parents who simply want to send their kids to schools that match their values.
“This victory should embolden more families to fight for school choice in other states that have discriminatory Blaine amendments. The court’s decision takes education freedom one step closer to fulfilling the charge Justice Clarence Thomas made twenty-two years ago, when he said of Blaine amendments: ‘This doctrine, born of bigotry, should be buried now.’”