ADF in a battle against religious discrimination

Friday, October 16, 2020
Chris Woodward (

no religionShould students at religious high schools be allowed to access a Vermont program allowing people to take college classes early? That's the question before the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Vermont has established a statewide "Dual Enrollment Program" that allows a student to take classes while in high school at a state college to further their education. But in certain areas, the state has limited access to that program only to students in private secular schools, public schools, and home schools. Attorney Jake Warner of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) says that's a problem.

"Students like our client, who attends a private religious school, cannot access the enrollment program," he explains, "and we're arguing to the court that that kind of discrimination is unconstitutional [because] the U.S. Supreme Court recently held that such discrimination is unconstitutional in Espinoza v. Montana."

It was in the Espinoza case that the Supreme Court ruled states must give religious schools the same access to public funding that other private schools receive.


"We expect an opinion sometime in the next couple of months," explains Warner. "Our client wants to enroll in a class this upcoming spring semester, so we'd love to have a decision in place before January."

After U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss denied the student a preliminary injunction, ADF appealed to the Second Circuit.

The Department of Justice has issued a statement of interest in the case, saying the appeals court should rule in favor of the student based on the Supreme Court's decision in Espinoza v. Montana.

More details about this case


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