INDIANAPOLIS—EdChoice, a national nonprofit organization that promotes state-based educational choice programs, released the following statement on the New Mexico Supreme Court ruling on Thursday that taxpayer dollars can be used for textbooks in both religious and secular private schools. The court reversed its previous decision on the matter. The statement can be attributed to EdChoice Vice President of Legal Affairs Leslie Hiner.
“Children and families in New Mexico no longer face the scourge of religious discrimination regarding basic K-12 textbook rentals thanks to a ruling by that state’s Supreme Court. The New Mexico Supreme Court, at the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court, reconsidered its ruling in Moses v. Ruszkowski (previously Moses v. Skandera) and restored the right of children in private schools to access K-12 textbooks through the state’s textbook loan program. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated the New Mexico high court’s prior ruling denying state-funded textbooks to children in religious schools, and directed the New Mexico Court to reconsider its ruling in light of Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming the right of religious entities, under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, to participate in widely available public benefit programs.
“Although the New Mexico ruling is narrow, it marks a first step toward state recognition of the U.S. Supreme Court’s efforts to restore religious liberty by validating our First Amendment right to freely exercise religion without exclusion or discrimination by government.
“We are pleased to stand with families who seek equal treatment under the law when accessing educational resources, and opportunities, that are the best fit for their children and offer a real chance for learning and future success.”