The Montanans Behind This Week’s Supreme Court Case
This week, you should start hearing a lot more about the Espinoza case, and the Montanans behind the case, at the United States Supreme Court.
What's the case about? Bottom line, Montana started a scholarship program that allowed people to keep more of their own money, which could then be used to support scholarships for kids to attend the school of their own choice. The teachers union and the left freaked out, claiming that this amounted to the government funding private and religious schools. It's an absolutely absurd claim by the left that allowing people to keep more of their own money amounts to a state appropriation.
The Boston Globe recently profiled this case, and included this background:
The Montana case is prompted by a 2015 decision by the state’s legislature to create a tax-credit program for those who wanted to donate to a scholarship fund. The program allowed dollar-for-dollar tax credits to those who donated up to $150 to an organization that provides aid to parents who want to send their children to private school.
Here's more background from The Institute for Justice:
The case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, will decide if states may discriminate against religious options in generally available scholarship programs. The U.S. Supreme Court already ruled in 2002 that allowing such options is permissible under the federal Constitution. The question now is whether the state can exclude such options. The case was accepted by the High Court after the Montana Supreme Court struck down that state’s new scholarship tax-credit program in 2018 under its state constitution solely because some of the children receiving scholarships attend religious schools. The Institute for Justice (IJ) appealed the decision on behalf of three parents and their children who wish to use the scholarships to attend a Christian school in Kalispell, Montana, arguing that the Montana Supreme Court’s decision violates the Free Exercise, Equal Protection and Establishment Clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
Frank Miele also wrote a great piece at his Heartland Diary USA blog, which included aspects of a previous column he wrote while serving as editor of The Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell:
Unfortunately, in a brazen abuse of power, the Department of Revenue under Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock took the law into its own hands “by declaring unilaterally that the Legislature could not possibly have meant to allow tax credits for contributions made to scholarships at private religious schools.”
At that time, it looked like common sense might prevail, but the anti-religious fervor of the radical left is deeply ingrained and Montana joined with outside forces to try to prevent Espinoza and two other parents with children attending Stillwater Christian School from taking advantage of the fund-raising mechanism authorized by the Legislature.