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The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue

Sourced from: Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding


On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Montana Supreme Court’s decision that disallowed tax credits (vouchers) for private religious schools. The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that a program to provide tax credits (vouchers) for private schools including religious schools was unconstitutional.

Montana’s Constitution forbids public funds being used for any sectarian purpose. The Montana Supreme Court invalidated the entire tax credits program; but, regardless, the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled: “The application of the no-aid provisions [of the Montana Constitution] discriminated against religious schools and families whose children attend or hope to attend them in violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the Federal Constitution.” The Court, however, stated: “A state need not subsidize private education. But once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”