AFN reported the nation’s highest court ruled 6-3 that Maine was discriminating against parochial schools because the tuition program helps high schoolers attend non-religious schools but bars those students from choosing a religious school.
Far from a narrow ruling affecting just Maine, legal scholars have noted there are 37 U.S. states with a so-called Blaine Amendment in the state constitution that bars state funds from going to religious school.
Thanks to the court’s decision in Carson v. Makin, Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Paul Schmitt tells AFN those states will be in legal trouble now if they try to enforce Blaine, which dates back to 1875 and targeted Catholic schools.
“If you know that there are states like Michigan, for example, or others that have Blaine Amendments,” he says, “those provisions effectively should be a dead letter now.”
Regarding this week’s Maine decision, Schmitt says families with school-age children stand to benefit from the parents in Maine who sued over school choice and eventually won.
“I think what this ruling will do,” he predicts, “is basically give families and parents more options and more choice.”