Conservatives fought for years to get to this point.
Liberals walked on pins and needles expecting a crushing defeat.
And the Supreme Court handed down a gigantic ruling that will leave Democrats in tears.
In a six to three decision the Supreme Court ruled that Maine violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment by banning parents from using taxpayer funded vouchers for religious schools.
“Maine’s ‘nonsectarian’ requirement for its otherwise generally available tuition assistance payments violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Regardless of how the benefit and restriction are described, the program operates to identify and exclude otherwise eligible schools on the basis of their religious exercise,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority
The liberals on the Supreme Court falsely claimed this decision would eviscerate the “wall of separation between church and state.”
“This Court continues to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build,” liberal Justice Sotomayor wrote.
Maine is a largely rural state where segments of the population do not live around public schools.
The state provides tuition dollars so parents not in living distance of a public school can send their child to a public or private institution.
But the state bans these vouchers from paying for tuition at religious schools.
Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey argued allowing parents to use taxpayer vouchers to pay for religious school tuition would allow for indoctrination and a state endorsement of religion.
“Instruction that inculcates, instills, imbues a particularly religious view through its materials, through its teachings, prescribing that there’s one religion above others and that there are certain ways of the world that are consistent with that religion … is not consistent with a public education.” Attorney General Frey argued.
Attorney Michael Bindas who argued the case on behalf of a family who sued claiming the ban in using vouchers for religious schools violated their First Amendment rights argued otherwise.
Bindas told the press that by excluding religious schools the state of Maine engaged in discriminatory behavior.
“Maine provides tuition to families to use at the school of their choice, whether it’s public or private, in-state or out-of-state,” Bindas said in an interview with NPR. “But there is one thing that the state prohibits, and that is a parent’s choice of religious school. Once the state provides a benefit in the form of tuition to use at private schools, it has to remain neutral as between religious and non-religious private schools.”
Bindas also told NPR that this case was not about endorsing any specific religion, but upholding the Constitutional principle that the government cannot discriminate against parents and restrict their choices because of their faith.
“This case is about whether the U.S. Constitution allows a state to bar a parent’s choice of school simply because the school is religious,” Bindas continued. “We believe that parents should be free and trusted to choose the schools that are best for their kids.”
A majority on the Supreme Court agreed.
The “wall of separation between church and state” is a phrase that never actually appears in the Constitution.
But in the 1960s the left latched onto the phrase and distorted its original meaning – in the late 1880s Congress rejected Amendments that would have written religious discrimination into the Constitution by banning educational funds from going to religious schools in an effort to suppress the growth of Catholic schools– into a new interpretation that meant America was a secular nation with no place for religion in public life.
That was never true of America.
The government cannot establish a national church – something the founders saw in England and sought to avoid – but the government cannot restrict the free exercise of religion.
And the Supreme Court correctly upheld that principle in this case.
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