INDIANAPOLIS—EdChoice, a national nonprofit organization that promotes state-based educational choice programs, released the following statement from Vice President of Legal Affairs Leslie Hiner regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today in Carson v. Makin:
“Children and families in Maine and across the country are cheering the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Carson v. Makin, holding that a provision of a state law prohibiting parents from using publicly funded tuition payments at religious schools that teach from a faith viewpoint is unconstitutional.
“This ruling affirms that parents should be able to choose a school that is compatible with their values or that honor and respect their values. By shutting out parents with certain values, that’s discrimination run rampant.
“In a school choice program, a state cannot prohibit a parent from choosing a private school just because the school is religious, and as a result of today’s ruling, a state cannot prohibit a parent from choosing a private school just because the school educates its students in their faith, presents subjects from a faith viewpoint, and trains students to live the values of their faith.
“Thankfully, Carson will finally put an end to a long, tortured history of anti-immigrant, anti-religious action that has hindered private school choice.”
Hiner identified the following as a critical passage in the court ruling:
• “In short, the prohibition on status-based discrimination under the Free Exercise Clause is not a permission to engage in use-based discrimination.”
EdChoice earlier filed an amicus brief in Carson v. Makin. The brief includes the story of Father John Bapst, a 19th-century Catholic priest who was tarred, feathered, and run out of town for opening a Catholic school to help Catholic students who were ostracized for refusing to deny their faith. Father Bapst helped children of faith to be included in education funding, and later was Boston College’s first president.