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Supreme Court Will Hear Case Involving Tax Credits Helping Religious Schools

June 28, 2019

Today the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case involving a Montana program that gives tax credits to people who donate to private religious schools.

 

After the state legislature created the tax-credit program in 2015, which granted citizens of Montana a tax credit of up to $150 for donations to approved scholarship organizations for private schools or "innovative education programs" in public schools, the court in Montana had decided the program violated the separation of church and state upheld by the Constitution. Now the case be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

John Schilling, president of the American Federation of Children, said in a statement, "We are incredibly pleased to learn that the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this fall on the Montana tax credit scholarship case, which could fundamentally alter the landscape for school choice across the country. This could be the most impactful Supreme Court case since the pivotal Zelman decision in 2002, which ruled that state-level voucher programs are constitutional."

 

American Federation of Children, in case you are unaware, is a conservative group that aggressively promotes the privatization of schools and works to funnel government money into religious private schools through a variety of schemes.

 

Most of the private schools in Montana are religiously affiliated, and nearly all of the private schools that have signed up with scholarship organizations under the program are religious.

 

In 2017, I wrote about a study that found many Catholic schools are only able to stay open by relying on government voucher programs. That study was focused on the Milwaukee area, but given that 29 states at the time had similar programs, it was likely a problem across much of the country.

 

Trump's administration, politicians at local levels, and many of these well-funded groups like American Federation of Children, are working hard to demolish the wall separating church and state. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of allowing donations to religious schools to benefit from this program, then it will be another brick in the wall smashed, something that, along with many of the other stories I have covered in the last few years, foretell a grim theocratic future for politics in the United States.

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