The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving a school choice voucher program that could potentially change the landscape of school options for parents nationwide.
Montana's tax credit scholarship program was passed in 2015, but the State Department of Revenue refused to implement it. John Bursch, vice president of appellate advocacy at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), says the state Supreme Court upheld that decision based on Montana's Blaine Amendment, which bars public funds from going to religious schools,
"These amendments survive to this day," Bursch laments. "There are 37, 38 states now, and just plain and simple, they … discriminate against religious families and religious organizations."
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that Missouri discriminated against Trinity Lutheran School by denying them funding for playground resurfacing while the state provided that funding for the same purpose at secular schools.
"Because of their Blaine Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court said that that wasn't proper," Bursch notes. "So I fully expect that they're going to apply the same kind of ruling here, and hopefully they'll go even [further] and not issue a limited ruling but say that the Blaine Amendments are facially unconstitutional everywhere that they exist."
If that happens, the ADF spokesman says school choice programs could potentially expand in three quarters of the states.