In July, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled 4–3 in favor of the state's school voucher program, which provides state funds to low-income students who wish to attend private schools. The decision reversed a 2014 superior court ruling that found the Opportunity Scholarship Program to be a violation of the state's Constitution.
The arguments hinged on the North Carolina Constitution's "public purpose" doctrine, which provides that "the power of taxation be exercised in a just and equitable manner, for public purposes only."
"The main constitutional flaw in this program is that it provides no framework at all for evaluating any of the participating schools' contribution to public purposes," Justice Robin Hudson wrote in her dissent. But Chief Justice Mark Martin, writing for the majority, argued that giving low-income kids additional educational opportunities benefits the "collective citizenry," and therefore fulfills a public purpose.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "A Win for Vouchers".