The Supreme Court sided with a group of families in Montana that challenged a state law which banned scholarship money from being used toward faith-based schools in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. The grants were given via donations that were tax deductible. The court ruled that discrimination against non-secular schools is a violation of the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment, and that although states “need not subsidize private education,” non-secular institutions cannot be discriminated against in the distribution of such subsidies based on religious ties.
#SCOTUS rules 5-4 that Montana’s exclusion of religious schools from state scholarship program funded by tax credits violates federal Constitution— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) June 30, 2020
"We celebrate today's Supreme Court decision on religious schools, which removes one of the biggest obstacles to better educational opportunities for all children. States may no longer hide behind rules motivated by insidious bias against Catholics, known as Blaine Amendments, to exclude religious schools from public benefits," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany released in a statement.
"Laws that condition public benefits, like need-based academic scholarships, on religious status demonstrate state-sanctioned hostility to religion, pressure people and institutions to censor their religious views, and stigmatize disfavored religions," she continued. "The Trump Administration believes that school choice is a civil rights issue, and that no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing school. President Donald J. Trump will fight for school choice, and he will always defend our first freedom: the free exercise of religion."
The Department of Justice is also applauding the decision.
"We are pleased with the Supreme Court's decision today in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. Montana's Blaine Amendment excluded religious schools from state scholarship programs that are open to other educational institutions. It thus prevented parents who send their children to religious schools from receiving scholarship funds that are available to the rest of the community," Attorney General Bill Barr said about the ruling. "The Supreme Court concluded today that Montana's Blaine Amendment violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The Court recognized that the Free Exercise Clause "condemns discrimination against religious schools and the families whose children attend them." As a result of the Court's decision, a state may no longer disqualify religious schools from scholarships or other programs "solely because they are religious."
"The Court's decision represents an important victory for religious liberty and religious equality in the United States. As the Court explained, religious people are 'members of the community too,' and their exclusion from public programs because of their religion is 'odious to our Constitution' and 'cannot stand.' We were pleased to see the Court agree with the Trump Administration that such blatant discrimination against religion has no place in our constitutional system," he continued.
President Trump is a longtime advocate for school choice.