Supreme Court

Supreme Court Delivers Big Win for School Choice and Religious Liberty Advocates

SCOTUS rules 5-4 in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue.


The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a major victory today for both school choice and religious liberty advocates. "A State need not subsidize private education," declared Chief Justice John Roberts. "But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious."

The case is Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. It centered on a 2015 scholarship program created by the Montana legislature "to provide parental and student choice in education." The program functioned by offering a tax credit to individuals and businesses who donated to private, nonprofit scholarship organizations, which used those donations to fund educational scholarships. Qualifying families could then use the scholarship dollars to help send their children to a "qualified education provider," including religiously affiliated private schools.

But the Montana Supreme Court killed the scholarship program in 2018, holding that it violated a provision of the Montana Constitution which bars the use of public funds "for any sectarian purpose or to aid any church, school, academy, seminary, college, university, or other literary or scientific institution, controlled in whole or in party by any church, sect, or denomination."

The Montana Supreme Court acknowledged that U.S. Supreme Court precedent—which has upheld the constitutionality of similar school choice programs—cut against its decision. But "we conclude that Montana's Constitution more broadly prohibits 'any' state aid to sectarian schools and draws a 'more stringent line than that drawn' by its [federal] counterpart." The state court, in other words, charted its own path in opposition to the federal jurisprudence laid down by SCOTUS.

Today the Supreme Court reversed the state court. "The Montana Supreme Court invalidated the program pursuant to a state law provision that expressly discriminates on the basis of religious status," Chief Justice Roberts wrote for a 5-4 majority. That decision "burdens not only religious schools but also the families whose children attend or hope to attend them. Drawing on 'enduring American tradition,'" he continued, "we have long recognized the rights of parents to direct 'the religious upbringing' of their children. Many parents exercise that right by sending their children to religious schools, a choice protected by the Constitution."

"Given the conflict between the Free Exercise Clause and the application of the no-aid provision here," Roberts concluded, "the Montana Supreme Court should have 'disregard[ed]' the no-aid provision and decided this case 'conformably to the Constitution' of the United States."

The Supreme Court's ruling in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue is available here.

Read the Reason Foundation's amicus brief in support of Kendra Espinoza here.

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  1. “A State need not subsidize private education,” declared Chief Justice John Roberts. “But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”

    I just made this same argument in the ENB article about the anti-prostitution pledge. Except I would change “need not” to “should not.”

    1. And the Court would agree with you. The issue in that case is whether foreign organizations associated with American ones have the same rights as American organizations. The court in that case did not say it was okay to tell American organizations what they could and could not say as a condition of getting the money. They cannot. The court said that the government can tell foreign organizations that since the 1st Amendment doesn’t apply to them.

      So that case doesn’t contradict with this one. The two cases examine different issues.

      1. the 1st Amendment doesn’t apply to them

        The 1st amendment doesn’t apply to anyone but Congress.

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    2. The distinction in the anti-prostitution pledge article is the legal state of the entity being disqualified. In this case, those being disqualified are US citizens on US soil. In the other case, those being disqualified were foreign corporations operating overseas.

      Jurisdiction matters.

  2. Two big mistakes were made here.
    First, the concept of choice is foreign to all good socialists. Choice is a decision for our obvious betters who have been wisely indoctrinated into the wisdom of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and a host of other socialist saints. It should be their decision where to send our offspring, not ours. I mean, what next? Having individuals in the collective decide what to eat for supper? What to wear when the get out of bed? What TV program to watch? The cancer of choice must be cut out of our society or disorder, chaos and freedom will again infect our beloved socialist slave state and kill all the wonders and joy our oppressors have worked so hard to provide us with.
    Secondly, as we all know, there is only one true god, and that’s The State. Worshiping The State is an exercise in joy, love and blind obedience that our obvious betters can understand. It is The State that provides for everything we need instead of want, and we should be eternally grateful that we do not get what we want.
    Otherwise the snowball of freedom will grow as it accelerates down the mountain of socialism until it destroys everything Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and other saints told us about and given to us by our oppressors.
    Nobody wants that.
    So let’s get this horrible decision reversed now so we can continue down the politically correct path of oppression.

    1. ^^EXACTLY — Dear Montana. It’s not the job of the State Government to be “Commie” dictators because the USA wasn’t founded on communism. If you don’t like the justice department making all the rules just repeal your communistic legislation.

      Down with the ‘entitled’ and the ‘slave’ game playing state!!!

      Roberts actually states this one pretty well.

      “A State need not subsidize private education,” declared Chief Justice John Roberts. “But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”

      1. The biggest problem with your analysis is the state isn’t funding anything. It is allowing private individuals to get a tax credit on their state income tax when they donate private money to fund a scholarship to allow poor kids to attend private schools. The only thing even resembling communism here is the existence of a state income tax to begin with.

        1. Well then Roberts is practically lying when he states, “A State need not subsidize private education” would you say?

          1. By subsidize he meant the tax credits. It is unfortunate that letting people keep their money today is akin to subsidizing. Isn’t it?

            1. Besides Roberts is the one who invented the penaltax. So are you really going to refer to his statement as proof of public funding?

              1. Figures Roberts is making “keep your money” = “subsidizing”. I was quite surprised since usually I’m disgusted by Roberts. Guess I still am 🙂

                1. You don’t keep your money, you donate to a fund to support private schooling.

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            2. Even when Robert’s is right, he’s wrong. He’s the most infuriating SC justice in my opinion.

          2. He is saying that if a state subsidizes any private schools, it cannot discriminate against religious private schools on the basis of being religious. If a state does not subsidize private schools at all, there is no requirement to subsidize religious schools.

  3. There’s that reliable ideological split we find so comforting.

    1. Depends on how you see people – as individuals who live their own lives, or as resources to be used by the State.

  4. I suspect Roberts is literally flipping a coin at this point.

  5. This isn’t a big victory. It is at best a holding action. The only reason this case came before the court at all was because the Montana decision was so contrary to existing precedent. The fact that the dissent attracted four votes is disturbing to say the least.

    All this is is Roberts and Gorsuch deciding that they would throw the proles a bone, for now, and keep things as they always been. Now those schools should be happy and do okay provided they let men and boys shower with the girls and remain properly deferential to abortion.

    1. But on the abortion ruling Roberts signaled a loss to anti-abortion fanatics in what was actually a solid victory for them. The LA law in question was not tenable since the court had already ruled on a similar law, but he made it clear that it’s the court’s place to decide whether women can get abortions. It’s all very stealth.

      1. It is the people who wanted to make sure doctors who did abortion actually had admitting procedures at a hospital who are the “fanatics” not the people who do abortions and then sell the parts of the fetus for profit.

        The sad thing is you actually believe that.

        1. The really sad thing is that you think the admitting privileges requirement was passed in good faith.

          1. No Tony, what is sad is that you think that even if it was in bad faith it is somehow worse than dismembering children and selling their parts for profit.

            1. Fair enough.

            2. Stepping it up from “baby” to “children” now are we?? Heck why stop there; Slaughtering old widowed ladies and selling their parts for profit will be the slogan tomorrow.

          2. So the only area of life or outpatient surgery where such regulations are onerous is abortion?

            It is amazing how much for government micromanagement of every aspect of life is, except this one.

      2. “anti-abortion fanatics”
        You mean people who aren’t keen on butchering babies, you sick fuck?

        1. Do people “butcher babies” every-time they pull-out too? Go on with your drama; seems your imagination has no boundaries in the realm of reality.

          1. Pulling out is not the same as going in and killing. Fetus. False analogy.

            1. Not just false but blatantly stupid and sophomoric as well.

              1. Well — You didn’t say “butcher fetus” now did you??!!??
                Falsehood lies in the timing. That is the reality of it.
                The term “Babies” is by definition post-born.

                1. I didn’t say either. But arguing if it is a fetus as opposed to a baby is a cowards way of trying to get around what abortion is. It isn’t even pedantic, it is just cowardice.

                  1. And making personal attacks is almost always a SURE sign of a lost case. “but, but that tree seed is an APPLE!!!” you’ll scream until everyone’s ears bleed yet the seed is still JUST as seed.

                    1. Nothing personal about it. Unless you take it personal that it is intellectually dishonest to debate fetus vs baby. Then that is on you. You made a false analogy and then tried to cover it up by bringing up the intellectually dishonest fetus vs baby canard. Then you cried personal attack. So far, you haven’t yet offered anything resembling a well thought out argument.

                    2. Also, just so we are clear, pulling out is only about 60-70% effective in preventing pregnancies. Pre-ejaculate, which most men start releasing as soon as they are erect and assists with lubrication, often included viable spermatozoa. So your false analogy isn’t even scientifically accurate.

                    3. OH BS… There is no false analogy to comparing a seed->tree as pregnancy->baby and you screaming at anyone who acknowledges such OBVIOUSNESS, “is a coward/cowardice” is personal attacks because you cannot defeat the reality of it but you’ll try by throwing shaming tactics at anyone who acknowledges it.

                      It’s the same game the left plays compulsively and somehow, sadly, many on the right have their own propaganda they need to deal with.

                    4. Baby and fetus are colloquially synonymous. It is not the same as a tree and a seed. A seed would be akin to a implanted zygote. A fetus is much more akin to a germinated and growing tree. Once again you are not even scientifically accurate. And if anyone is using the left tactic of arguing terms it is you. You don’t want to face the reality of what abortion truly is, so therefore you try and use sterile terms that hide the true nature of what is occuring.
                      And you are the only one taking this personally, possibly because you realize the morally indefensible position of trying to argue fetus vs baby.

                    5. Also the accusation of believing propaganda plays double for arguing baby vs fetus. That tactic was first coined by leftist to combat any attempt to limit late term abortions. They also used it to combat the safe, legal and rare argument. Your entire position was a blatant move of propaganda to try and sterilize what abortion is. From the “it is a fetus, not a baby” they moved onto the “it’s just a clump of cells” argument. The fact that you accuse others of being manipulated by propaganda and not being able to defend their position, while arguing from a position that originated as propaganda demonstrates the intellectual ambiguity of your position. I don’t favor criminalizing all abortion (though I wish it never happened and was a moot point) but I fully admit that abortion is destroying a fetus aka as a baby to most every lay person and even most medical clinicians (former nurse, including working labor and delivery). Even a lot of biologist use the word baby as shorthand.

                    6. There is no debate on Late-Term Abortions. Roe v Wade established that. The debate is pre-21 weeks. From conception till 21-weeks.

                      Running around calling zygote, embryo, early fetus a “baby” is propaganda and any “lay” person saying otherwise has an agenda as no-one refers to ending a 0-survival rate “baby butchering”.

                      And if you cannot accept that; refer to your US Constitution which gives “born” the state of government life protections. Roe v Wade was extremely conservative theoretically as it is. Going beyond 21-weeks is just turning women into gov mandated incubaters.

                    7. APPLES for sale – $2/bushel..!!!
                      What do you mean your ordered APPLES; I sent you apple seeds I don’t understand why you call me a crook. The seed is the apple!!! Any “lay” person would call that seed an apple and anyone who thinks otherwise is “cowardice”…. /s

                    8. Its Ironic that the very Libertarians who will champion non-government involvement in drug control (and maintain what we put into our own bodies as our-choice) cannot accept it on a pregnant woman. My left brain wants to O.D. on LSD but maybe my right brain doesn’t want to. Doesn’t my right-brain have a choice???

                      The argument to such would be that you cannot disconnect half of you and claim it as an independent. Well let me CLUE YOU IN; Whatever you think “pregnancy” is; you cannot “disconnect” it from the Woman either (Pre-21-Weeks) so you’d be arguing the exact same claim as what about the other-half of you? Doesn’t it get a choice; maybe we need to pretend the GOV is in charge of your other half; the right-brain.

    2. Seems big to me. If I understand correctly, the court could have ruled that tax credits (a common end run around Blaine amendments) are not a subsidy, but instead invalidated Blaine amendments in general.

    3. So, I dunno if the article was written oddly or what, but it sounded like the MT SC killed the whole program? Does that not also equate to not distinguishing between religious and non-religious schools?

  6. >>to provide parental and student choice in education

    to turn your children over to the government or not is the choice no funding required.

    1. Sadly, mandatory schooling laws mean it isn’t a choice unless you have the money to pay someone else.

      1. hang onto the kids like grim death and home-school?

        1. If you have the time, yes. That is about the only option.

      2. “mandatory schooling laws” – does represent “mandatory labor camp laws” far too much.

  7. It isn’t just that Montana was violating the rights of religious people everywhere by violating the rights of all religious people equally. It’s also that they weren’t providing for an equal protection of the laws–by treating some people non-religious institutions as more equal than religious ones.

    From a libertarian perspective, this is a huge win. I’m all about replacing the welfare state with private charity, and when I say the welfare state, yeah, I’m talking about the baby sitting that passes for education in this country, too. The more private institutions we get to replace the welfare state, the more libertarian and capitalist this country will be.

    And it should be noted that participation in this fun was absolutely voluntary! My understanding is that taxpayers were not compelled to finance this fund in any way.

    1. How is this not the state establishment of religion? This is how Al Qaeda turns them out. By funding their “education”. You fuckers are something else.

      1. Actually, if there’s a comparison to the Taliban (rather than Al Qaeda), it’s that the Taliban uses the government to discriminate on the basis of religion.

        The fact is that religious people have rights, which by definition exist whether we like them or not, and the government is wrong to violate those rights.

        The other fact is that if we replaced the whole goddamn public education system with the results of the average religious school in this country, test scores for the ACT and SAT would improve–and save the taxpayers a ton of money.

        P.S. ‘Because you hate religion’ justifies nothing.

      2. You are arguing on the wrong case. It was a 2002 case (linked in the article) that found these programs don’t violate the Establishment Clause.

        Montana State Supreme Court found that the program violated their state constitution’s more stringent establishment clause

        Today the SCOTUS found that more stringent clause, as applied here, in fact violates the Free Exercise Clause

    2. So if a kid is born to poor, neglectful parents who don’t want to pay for an education, who’s responsible when that kid grows up illiterate and probably a criminal? It’s not his fault. Just the way the cookie crumbles? No morally superior option with respect to opportunity in society than total random chance?

      1. Yeah Tony because kids from such backgrounds never grow up to be illiterate criminals now. They go to public schools and are saved right? We do get something for our trillion dollars a year we spend on education, right?

        Who is responsible for the generations of illiterate kids that the public schools have produced? God fucking forbid you and your ilk ever take responsibility for the monstrous failures every single idea you have ever had turns out to be.

        1. Yes John public education has achieved nothing whatsoever and all the countries you think of as near-universally literate advanced societies are actually no better off than the agrarian hellholes they came from. You always have so much to offer a discussion, John.

          Tell me more about how social distancing is worse than slavery like you were arguing yesterday.

          1. It has failed miserably in every case that mattered. But it costs trillions of dollars. So there is that.

            1. You don’t have ideas so much as rants, do you?

              1. You’re not someone who should be leveling that kind of accusation Tony. John is far more thoughtful and measured than you are.

                1. John said social distancing makes him less free than a slave.

                  1. And you’re a Maoist liar.

                  2. Fuck off, you dishonest creep.

                    1. Sounds like an exaggeration doesn’t it?

        2. “It centered on a 2015 scholarship program created by the Montana legislature “to provide parental and student choice in education.” The program functioned by offering a tax credit to individuals and businesses who donated to private, nonprofit scholarship organizations, which used those donations to fund educational scholarships. Qualifying families could then use the scholarship dollars to help send their children to a “qualified education provider,” including religiously affiliated private schools.”

          We might also point out that the purpose of this program is to fund scholarships for poor children so that they can attend better schools.

          The idea that we should kill programs like this so that more poor children will be trapped in awful public schools is farcical.

          Did I ever mention that I left home at 14 and attended the same boarding school in central Virginia as my parents and grandparents? I worked my way through just like they did, too. There were lots of poor kids there. Everyone was required to work at that school–because people who don’t know how to work to support themselves are both fundamentally uneducated and disgusting.

          No doubt, people in inner city poorer neighborhoods don’t have the same options as others, but the idea that offering those kids more opportunities through private donations and scholarships is somehow the problem is both stupid and revolting. Tony should be ashamed of himself, but he’s oblivious to shame.

          1. I don’t believe I ever suggested that private charity was a bad thing.

            1. So do you support this decision or are you against it for some reason?

              1. I’m an old-school establishment clause guy, so yeah I have a problem with it. Largely it bothers me that this is an activist decision addressing a problem that no longer existed (since the court resolved the issue by striking down the program for both secular and religious schools). This is clearly an attempt by the goobers who want to erase half of the religion clauses from the first amendment because they are theocrats. (Though I do look forward to when Muslim schools sue for public money.)

                A state government can have a perfectly legitimate American reason not to want public money going to religious schools, even if it offers those funds to other private schools. Don’t know what’s wrong with that.

                1. Right, so you’re against private charities giving scholarships to poor kids because of the constitutional implications–in total contradiction to everything else you’ve ever written on this website about the existence of our rights–and we’re supposed to believe that.

                  You’re a farce.

                  There aren’t any establishment issues to see here. You just want the government to discriminate against a religious institution–which is the opposite of caring about freedom from establishment.

                  1. You do know the difference between private and public money, yes?

                    1. You obviously don’t, of you don’t understand the facts of the case. This is donated money, e.g. no public funds being spent.

                    2. And what happens to your taxes when you donate money to a government-approved cause?

                      Do you feel that one of those causes should be religious proselytizing?

                    3. Yes. I can already write off any money I give to a church, as can anyone. You can write off donations you give to a church ran soup kitchen too. Did you think you just made a point?

                    4. “Yes. I can already write off any money I give to a church, as can anyone. You can write off donations you give to a church ran soup kitchen too. Did you think you just made a point?”

                      I might add that the idea that the government owns our money and only lets us spend it the way we want because they’re being nice is also horribly misguided. Taxation is theft.

                      If Americans were free to choose where there taxes went, half the government might go unfunded but poor kids wouldn’t have any problem getting a paid scholarship to a better school.

                  2. Montana effectively established the religion of secularism by discriminating against religious schools. By giving them all equal treatment, it avoids preferential treatment to one religion over the other, thereby avoiding establishment of any one religion.

                    1. If you’re going to define things as their opposites, it’s gonna get silly really fast.

                    2. Tony,
                      Even you should understand that the government cannot establish religion nor discriminate against religion. It is long held precedence that if private organizations can apply for government money, that the government cannot ban religious organizations from applying for those same funds.

                    3. Uh, secularism is the antithesis of religion.

                    4. So specifically stating that a private individual can get a privately funded scholarship but you can’t use it at the school of your choice if it happens to be religious is not discrimination? Because of secularism

                    5. Also secularism’s definition is separation of church and state not the opposite of antithesis of religion. Excluding religious schools from receiving a scholarship that non religious private schools can receive is not separation of church and state, it is the state specific excluding church. That is not secularism.

                2. “…..yeah, I have a problem with that….”

                  ‘But as soon as it pisses off the right people I’ll be gleeful!’

                  Haha. Don’t change a thing. You’re doing great!

      2. “It’s not his fault.” — Oh yeah?? And when I decide to steal your car, set your house on fire, rape your wife and kill your dog it’s really your fault for telling me being responsible for myself is totally everyone else’s fault.

        1. If only legislation existed that made the people of General motors slaves that would make me a new car that I could afford I wouldn’t have had to rob your car. Oh and P.S. be sure it exhausts the scent of flowers too.

          If only legislation existed that made your house look crappier than mine I wouldn’t have had to burn yours down in protest.

          If only …. I could enslave all those other literate and competent people by communistic theft then and only then I wouldn’t have to *work* or *earn* or *accept* the responsibility of either being competent enough in a single area else competent enough to build my own.

          Those darn capitalists think they should be able to keep/get what they have *built* or *earned*…. How DARE they. I’m special enough without having to learn anything or be competent to get to TAKE it from them.

    3. “by treating some people non-religious institutions as more equal than religious ones.”

      That’s supposed to be the rule. The state is supposed to stay away from religion. It’s hard to think a more blatant violation of the establishment clause then the public funding of religious schools.

      1. That’s what the Supreme Court did here–making the State of Montana stay away from religion.

        They were discriminating against a religious school specifically because it was religious. They have no business discriminating against people on the basis of religion, and now they aren’t doing that (at least not in that way) anymore.

        Do you believe there’s a special exemption for religious people in the First Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause, or . . . the Civil Rights Act maybe? Why do you imagine that being religious means that it’s okay to discriminate?

        Are you a product of public schools?

        1. Protection from establishment means that the government cannot compel people to support religion against their will.

          My understanding is that this program is 100% voluntary. No one is compelled to fund this program. The convolutions required to make that seem like establishment would be mind boggling.

          1. A tax deduction is tied to the donation. Every citizen is forced to subsidize religious schools now. This is something the Supreme Court didn’t even think states should have a choice about.

            1. You realize you already can write off donations to religious organizations? This is no different than writing off a donation to a church or a church ran soup kitchen.

            2. “Every citizen is forced to subsidize religious schools now”.

              Do you really think your taxes would go down if these donations were not tax deductible? Do you think you get to choose where your tax dollars are wasted?

              The zero sum world you big government fanatics live in is hilarious.

              1. The real culprit is government picking winners and loosers by means of various categorized tax-rates. Either one bill for all people or billed by usage. Throw out the income-rate all together and let the poor go visit their local welfare office for assistance.

                I’d bet just honest taxation would rid a good 90% of the ever-growing communist support in this country as soon as they ALL see a legitimate tax bill. Instead; today we have different sectors all arguing about who those “other” people are who has to pay their own bills. Even to the point of believing it’s a “human right” to make those other people pay their bills.

      2. The state is not supposed to stay away from religion. It’s supposed to refrain from establishing religion, which has come to mean favoring religion. More importantly, where would you draw the line? Can the state prohibit someone who got an earned income tax credit from donating the money to a church?

  8. It is a bigger win for parents and school choice.

    1. And other euphemisms as well.

  9. Let the significant and meaningful reforms begin.

    To support queer youth identity, one Seattle school will be renamed after a LGBTQ+ leader, among other reforms

    Politicians manage to be retarded and mendacious at the same time.

    1. Why are you bitching about an insignificant and meaningless thing? Don’t you have any real problems?

      1. You’re confusing laughing with bitching. If I were a BLM supporter, I’d be fuckin’ pissed. I ask you to make a top-to-bottom reform of the police and all you do is change the name of a school?

        1. Oh I agree with that. Each symbolic victory is kind of a victory for the cops and oppressors, if only because time was spent on something else.

          1. Well they did manage to murder a couple of black teenagers. BLM in Seattle did do that. So, you can’t say they have only done symbolic things. Those two kids really are dead. Nothing symbolic about that.

            1. I have a funny feeling your outrage over murdered black people is to some degree selective.

              1. still pretty upset about Steve McNair.

              2. So, yes Tony you don’t care about this because they were murdered by the left. Thanks for admitting that. You can’t bring yourself to be angry or even object to it. You just whine that someone brought it up.

                When is the last time you gave a fuck about anyone’s death or hardship that didn’t somehow advance your sick politics? Have you ever? Maybe when you were a child or something?

                1. See, John, nobody can get worked up over every murder that happens. Your attempt at an indictment of the movement is unwittingly a description of its whole point. Obviously it cares more about cops killing black people than some random act of passion murder. The focus is on the systemic failures that get black people killed. Normal everyday crime is an entirely different subject.

                  By contrast you are going out of your way to be an unpleasant racist jackass.

                  1. No one is asking you to get worked up. Only condemn the organization that did it. That is what you can’t do and never will do. Antifa and BLM could murder a million people of every color and you would never condemn it.

                    Just admit you are fine with it and don’t hold it against the CHAZ people and move on. And if you do hold it against them, say so and condemn Antifa and BLM who are responsible for it.

                    You don’t have to be worked up to condemn murder. You just have to not be immoral.

                    1. You have got to stop consuming rightwing media.

                    2. Tony, do you consumer anything but left wing media?

                  2. Leftists like Tony can only get worked up over like one death every two years or so. The rest of their outrage is preoccupied with Trump’s tweets. There are only so many hours in a day!

                  3. Most black people are killed by other black people. Both murderers and victims largely live in democrat run shitholes. The actual number of blacks killed by the cops is pretty low.

                    Not that we don’t need a massive amount of laws repealed and some law enforcement reform. Making cios carry liability insurance and a bind would go a long ways to weeding out bad cops.

                  4. “Normal everyday crime is an entirely different subject.”

                    Yeah, John, we can’t get all worked up over a couple of teens shot and killed in their vehicle approaching a newly declared autonomous zone set up by radical revolutionaries.

                    You know: everyday stuff.

              3. Well, we KNOW it’s selective with both Black LIves Matter and the police. What’s so mendacious about it is not only is no one talking about it, no one is even interested in asking why.

                1. I checked the news and I can’t even find that they have discovered a motive for the shootings in Seattle (if I’m missing it, feel free to educate me), so what am I supposed to do with it? What larger narrative am I supposed to think it plays into?

                  1. Considering that the organizers of CHAZ police who can and cannot enter the zone, and refused to allow the police to investigate the murders (even refused paramedics to respond to treat them) I say the evidence is overwhelming that they bear responsibility for all crimes committed inside the zone they control.

              4. I have a funny feeling your outrage over how tax dollars are wasted is to some degree selective.

      2. How does that square with not establishing a religion? Given that the sanctity of gays seems to be a central tenet of the Woke quasi-religion.

    2. I really have no beef with the Trans community, but it is shocking to me how quickly they have infiltrated every single liberal cause out there. Black Lives Matter, which was ostensibly about police brutality nevertheless spends energy promoting trans black rights. A trans leader was originally head of Chaz. Not to mention how Trans rights have somehow supplanted the rights of biological female feminists, leading to biological males pushing biological female roles in sports and feminist groups.

      Other than the fact that trans females will make my daughters’ sports life more difficult, I really don’t have a problem with the rights demanded by Trans people (bathrooms can be addressed over a longer term by just making them as individual-capacity as possible). But their advancements seem to be coming at the expense of a lot of other liberal causes, and no one on the left seems to give a shit other than JK Rowling.

      I guess there is an addendum to the formula:
      1. Identify a respected institution.
      2. kill it.
      3. gut it.
      4. wear its carcass as a skin suit, while demanding respect.
      5. Be consumed by the Trans parasites you brought with you.

      1. Maybe you should visit the black lives matter web site and read the socialist screed that passes for their policy statement. They were never about police brutality, that is just the false flag.

      2. Orwell talks about how the point of political propaganda is not to get people to believe it. In fact it is the opposite. The point of it is that people don’t believe it and that in forcing people to say the believe what they know to be a lie the government is asserting its power over them.

        That is all that is happening with the trans movement. Everyone knows it is complete bullshit. Can there be a more obvious and degrading lie to force someone to tell than that men really are women and vice versa if only they say so? The point of the left’s embrace of the Trans movement is that it is a way to assert power over language and thought and people’s will by forcing them to tell as degrading and absurd of a lie as possible. This is why it has infiltrated every liberal cause. It is because it is a great means of the movement asserting power over it’s members and is thus always useful to it.

        1. Let’s get John’s hot take on the trans issue, said no one ever.

          1. Come on Tony say the lie.

            1. It’s difficult to have a conversation with someone who thinks that everything that makes him remotely uncomfortable is a giant nefarious conspiracy.

              It’s a free country, and nothing is stopping you from being rude to trans people if that’s how you want to spend your time. Nothing except whatever value you may place on basic manners.

              1. You accuse John of conspiracy theories then claim that allowing individuals to use a privately funded scholarship to send their kids to any private school of their choice, including religious ones, is establishing a theorocracy? You do understand irony right?

              2. That is a funny position to take regarding trans issues as the whole thing with policing speech for pronouns and misgendering is trying to avoid trans people being made uncomfortable.

        2. “The point of it is that people don’t believe it and that in forcing people to say the believe what they know to be a lie the government is asserting its power over them.”

          I honestly don’t think that is solely what is at play here. I think there is also a male bullying instinct at play. Men who are mediocre at best in their sport are going to women’s leagues where they can be the big fish. Men pushing women around for being uncomfortable with their genitalia. Hell, even that CHAZ trans woman was shown to be a chronic abuser.

          Men can be bullies, and the Trans label seems to give biological men the ability to be total assholes with no consequences. I have seen none of this with trans males (i.e. biological females), but I have seen a significant number of totally obscene, asshole trans females.

          1. That is part of it. It is never a woman wanting to play or shower with the men. It is always some man wanting to bully and abuse women.

            1. The problem is for female to male it is a self correcting problem. Apparently there was a female swimmer who was admitted to Harvard and transitioned to male before she got there. This person was put on the men’s team and ended up being about the worst swimmer on the team. The problem is male to female because the Woke ideology deniess that there is any inherent difference between male and female. This kind of rubs their noses in the fact that there are.

          2. If you’ve never seen a biologically-female bully, then I seriously question your powers of observation. It is true that stereotypically female bullying takes a different from than stereotypically male bullying (generally focused more on emotional than physical bullying) but studies of the incidence of bullying show no statistical difference in either the rate or negative consequences. Bullies are bullies no matter what’s between their legs. Nothing in the trans movement changes that.

      3. For what it’s worth, it’s a small minority of the trans people I know who are attention-seeking loudmouths.

        1. The 99% of trans people who are mentally ill and just want to inflict themselves on the rest of the world in the most awful way possible give the other 1% a bad name.

          Fair enough Tony.

          1. All due respect, I disagree with this characterization. I believe it’s a small number of vocal minority in the trans movement which are pushing the issue. Perfectly sane people- perhaps unbalanced. The few people that truly do suffer from gender dysphoria usually want to remain quiet and private. That’s my impression.

            I strongly recommend you buy Douglass Murray’s book, “The Madness of Crowds” I just finished it and his section on Trans is fascinating and illuminating. And he details some truly heart-wrenching stories of people who transitioned and then struggled after the transition. He also goes into the unhinged political side of the movement which he deconstructs with encyclopedic detail.

        2. “For what it’s worth, it’s a small minority of the trans people I know who are attention-seeking loudmouths.”

          I get that, but the power they wield is unbelievable. In the span of a year, biological men had invaded many collegiate level sports for biological women. They are taking scholarships and livelihoods from women who worked very hard to get where they are at. I’m peeved as a dad (luckily my girls won’t need sports scholarships) but if I were an accomplished female athlete who worked hard all my life only to see an utterly unremarkable biological male take my spot by virtue of his Y Chromosome, I’d be livid.

      4. ‘Trans Black’? Like Rachel Dolezal?

  10. Shouldn’t this have been 9-0?

  11. Probably will lead to less choice. If states have to include religious schools, then they might bar all non-public schools form funding and will likely make it harder to form charters. So if you want “school choice” then this is probably going to have the opposite effect.

    1. Unfortunately I believe you are correct

    2. Guess it will depend on your state’s leaders, and ultimately on the voters. Is school choice important to parents?

  12. I would call it a big win if it was 9 – 0.
    5 – 4 is a marginal win valid until the next time the dems take over.

    1. You don’t even know why you think this was a “win” for you.

      1. Because it says that religious private schools cannot be treated any differently than non-religious private schools. Why is that such a hard concept for the left to grasp?

        1. Why is that a libertarian cause or the cause of anyone who’s not a theocrat? Do you even care about the first amendment?

          1. Yes. The 1A states the government can’t restrict the free expression of religion. It states you can’t exclude religious organizations just because they are religious. That is the libertarian case for allowing religious private schools to compete for the same scholarships that non religious private schools can compete for. Especially as this is all funded by private donation and not tax money.

          2. Also it isn’t even the schools that apply for the scholarships. It is private individuals who apply and can use it at the private school of their choice. So freedom of choice is very libertarian.

    1. They have a point. Religious conservatives complained loudly because some of their tax money could go to support abortion. They got the Hyde amendment and are still complaining. Now tax-payers who don’t want their money to support religious indoctrination (i.e. gay people are just as bad as pedophiles, women should always obey their husbands) will be forced to have their tax dollars support these religious schools. It’s just another way to trounce the freedom not to be religious. I do not anticipate these religious conservatives rejoicing when their taxes go to support Islamic Madrassas encouraging Jihad against the infidels.

      1. But there are no tax dollars being spent. It is private donations which the donor gets a tax credit for. No tax money being spent.

      2. Abortion is mentioned exactly zero places in the constitution.

        1. Neither are ‘executive privilege’, ‘freedom of association’, ‘freedom of expression’, ‘checks and balances’, ‘separation of powers’, ‘separation of church and state’, ‘judicial review’, ‘parental rights’, ‘marital privacy’, and any number of other terms and principles used in the interpretation of the Constitution.

          The right to send one’s children to a private school (or to homeschool) rather than a government-run public school isn’t in the Constitution either.

  13. Do any of you think the state should be constitutional required to use your tax money to pay for Islamic indoctrination of children? Because that is in theory what this ruling allows, though I’m sure they felt safe that it was Christians-only in Montana.

    1. I have no problem with someone using their education voucher for an Islamic school, as long as that school passes the same criteria for qualification as all other private schools receiving such funding. Why is that weird to you?

      1. Because the free exercise of religion often entails not paying for the promotion of other religions. If it’s a religious school, the religion is usually not a minor part of the package.

        1. Given the amount of leftist indoctrination from government schools, I fail to see where you have a legitimate complaint.

          1. The only indoctrination is convincing you there is so much leftist indoctrination

            1. You don’t even understand the law and yet you are accusing others of being brainwashed?

        2. So what? Do you think that somehow invalidates the legal logic behind this decision?

          1. Replied to wrong post….

      2. “I have no problem with someone using their education voucher for an Islamic school, as long as that school passes the same criteria for qualification as all other private schools receiving such funding.”

        School choice advocates generally want as few criteria for qualification of receiving public money as possible.

        This is why I oppose school choice as proposed and implemented by libertarians and conservatives. They are the same people that have insisted for the last 20 years that public schools need all kinds of testing and other regulations to hold them “accountable”, and yet the private schools that they want public money to go to they insist be exempt from all of that.

        If public schools need all of that in order to protect taxpayer money from being misspent, then so do the private schools that get it.

    2. I can’t wait until the first Wiccan school gets funded using public money due to this precedent. I think we’ll hear complaints from the religious right then.

      1. How many Wiccan Schools are there? Also, every private school in Montana is eligible for these scholarships, which are funded by private donations, so I doubt the Christian Right will be all that upset that other religions can compete for these privately funded scholarships.

        1. “How many Wiccan Schools are there?”

          Hence why conservatives love vouchers. They know that whatever minority religions might have schools that get the money, Christian schools will get tons more simply by virtue of their overwhelming majority in the country. The only religion that claims more than 1% of the U.S. population in Pew’s survey is Judaism with 1.9% vs. 70.6% for Christian religions.

          Also, the idea that these scholarships are privately funded is a convenient fiction specifically implemented to get around Blaine Amendments in the first place. A dollar-for-dollar tax credit when donating to a private charity is nothing more than someone getting to say exactly what to do with the taxes they owe.

          Say I owe Paul $150 dollars. Paul tells me that he’ll cancel that debt if I give $150 to Peter, when Paul doesn’t owe anything to Peter.

          How does that work out? My own balance sheet doesn’t change at all. Whether I pay Paul or give the money to Peter, $150 dollars is still coming out of my wallet. Peter only gets $150 if I choose to give it to him rather than Paul, but since Paul is out $150 that he was owed if I make that choice, then isn’t the net effect of all of this identical to Paul giving Peter $150 and then keeping my $150 debt to him on the books?

  14. It’s a great euphemism: “religious liberty” instead of “Christian theocracy”.

    1. Allowing religious schools access to compete for scholarships every other private school in the state competes for is a theocracy, really?

      1. If Facebook, Google, and the like are “monopolies” even though people are free to choose not to use them, then when upwards of 3/4th of the private schools are Christian, yeah, these programs are intended to and do support religious schooling with taxpayer money.

  15. I read a book a long time ago, One Nation Under Law. In it, the author narrates how the separation of church and state is at the federal level, not state or local. In other words, the ten commandments are forbidden in a federal building but OK in a state, county building where the respective state constitution allows it. I’m not saying this ruling is wrong. I’m not qualified to do that. But this state’s, Montana, constitution seems to palpably forbid the state paying for tuition in a religious school, regardless if it allows public funds going to secular schools.

    1. But the state isn’t paying the tuition. Montana set up a program where private individuals could donate to a private scholarship fund and receive tax credits for it. No tax money was spent.

      1. Come one you know they are going to now.

        1. No. I don’t. Because I actually no what the law is and live in Montana. You obviously don’t even know what you are bitching about. It’s a privately funded scholarship fund and the law allows you to claim a tax credit on your state income tax if you donate to it.

        2. Also, why should religious schools not be eligible for the scholarship if non religious private schools are?

        3. Also, it isn’t the schools that get the scholarship it is private citizens who can use it at any private school in the

    2. Also the 15A forbids states from passing laws that are contrary to the rest of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. By specifically excluding religious organizations, the State Constitution violates the 1A. It is a long held precedent that the states can’t specifically exclude religious organizations from applying for funds that other private organizations can apply for.

  16. So glad my tax dollars can go to brainwashing the next generation with a religion whose God flooded the entire world. How many did that kill?

    1. None of your tax dollars are going to be spent. It was a tax credit for private donations to a scholarship fund. No tax dollars were spent. Gee are they just handing out the same wrong talking points today? Did you bother to familiarize yourself with the facts before spouting off? Also, it’s always been the case that you can write off charitable donations to churches and religious organizations. This just allows you to write off money you give to a scholarship fund that anyone can apply to, for any private school in the state of Montana (and it only allows you to claim it on your state income taxes).

      1. soldiermedic76,

        Do some basic thinking and realize that the whole point of these tax-credit scholarship schemes were a way to get around Blaine Amendments and other provisions of state constitutions that required tax money only be spent on public schools.

        All deductions and tax credits are a way for government to encourage specific types of activity without having to appropriate money directly from its treasury. Want more people to be able to afford to buy a house? Allow them to deduct mortgage interest. Want more people to be covered by health insurance? Allow employers to pay for health insurance without it being taxed as income. (This was also a way for businesses to get around wage controls during the Depression and WWII, I believe.) Want people to put up solar panels? Give that a tax credit.

        Sometimes, such deductions and credits are cost effective and market-driven solutions to problems. Other times, they are purely a work-around for something that would be legally or politically difficult for the government to spend on directly. Tax-credit scholarships for private schools are clearly the latter.

    2. Also, can you defend the scholarship winners the freedom to use it any private school they want? Many people choose religious schools because the education is often much better than other schools, even many atheist choose to send their kids to Catholic schools.

      1. “Many people choose religious schools because the education is often much better than other schools, even many atheist choose to send their kids to Catholic schools.”

        “Many people” is often code for “I really have no idea how true this is, but it makes a good argument for my side.” Same thing with the “is often” you use there.

    3. Are you aware that kids from religious schools score higher on ACT and SAT tests than kids from public schools?

      They argue about why that is. Maybe it’s because kids in religious schools come from more stable families? Maybe it’s for some other reason. But they never argue about why kids from religious schools score lower than public school kids–because that just doesn’t seem to happen.

      It’s been that way since forever, too. Don’t you hate it when facts get in the way of your theories?

      1. It is funny how they argue against a caricature of religion rather than actual modern religious dogma. Catholics and Lutherans (the two largest denominations running private schools in Montana) both accept evolution and basically teach that Genesis (which includes Noah’s flood, as well as the Book of Job) are basically allegorical as opposed to actual history. As for judging others, both tend to follow Jesus’s commandments to concentrate on the plank in out eyes rather than the speck in our neighbors and to not judge others.

        1. They probably have a hard time getting their heads around that fact that homeschooled kids generally do better than public school kids, too, and plenty of people home school for religious reasons.

          Meanwhile, I know six day creationists who aren’t dumb enough to fall for the silliness of socialism. Ask progressives what makes economies grow, and most of them will say things that make six-day creationism look ingenious by comparison.

          The idea that the universe is so huge and ordered and purposefully so may not be a complete argument for the existence of God, but the idea that Bernie Sanders, or any other progressive, has the godlike abilities necessary to outperform a market economy takes more faith than the belief in six-day creationism.

          There used to be a regular commenter here who was PhD in optical physics. He invented new ways of doing medical imaging that everybody from the National Institute of Health and on were interested in his work. He said his creationism never really got in the way of his work, and I can’t imagine why it would.

          Incidentally, Jesus doesn’t mention creationism much in the Sermon on the Mount either. People on the left seem to imagine that if it weren’t for creationism and opposition to gay marriage, there wouldn’t be anything left of Christianity, but neither of those things come up in the Sermon on the Mount or most of the rest of the Bible. It’s almost like they aren’t the central point of Christianity at all.

        2. “It is funny how they argue against a caricature of religion rather than actual modern religious dogma.”

          You’ll find creationists anytime and anywhere that the teaching of science is being discussed by governmental bodies. It doesn’t really matter if they make up only a few percent of believers or nearly 50% of the country (according to some surveys). The problem is that religious people on the right that aren’t creationists themselves will give the vocal anti-evolutionists a pass and not oppose them when they try and push nonsense into public schools. They would rather stay on good terms with them since they are close allies on many other issues rather than be drawn into a fight that they don’t care that much about anyway.

          Being anti-elitist and sneering at “experts” is generally strong in America regardless of politics, but the right definitely is more so. When they see the left arguing against creationism, they see the “elitist” scientists with their “secularism” denigrating religion in general, rather than seeing a issue that is really about facts and evidence alone.

      2. “But they never argue about why kids from religious schools score lower than public school kids–because that just doesn’t seem to happen.”

        Um, did you read the article you linked to the end?

        “Catholic school students scored 6.79 and 9.77 percentile points lower in eighth grade and fifth grade math, respectively. Catholic primary schooling had no statistically significant effect on eighth and fifth grade reading scores.”

        1. I should point out that this was after doing a regression analysis, which tries to control for factors other than the simple public vs. Catholic school variable. Separate out things like family structure, income, etc., at the “Catholic school effect” essentially vanished, with the exception of worse math scores.

          1. “They argue about why that is. Maybe it’s because kids in religious schools come from more stable families? Maybe it’s for some other reason. But they never argue about why kids from religious schools score lower than public school kids–because that just doesn’t seem to happen.”

            —–Ken Shultz

            That was the point.

            They don’t need to torture the data, change selection criteria to match public school kids to Catholic school kids for other demographic characteristics, do regression analyses, etc. in order to make Catholic school kids score better than public school kids–because Catholic school kids always score higher than public school kids on average without any manipulation, and it’s been that way for generations.

            Even after applying their controls to skew the data, what did they find?

            “These were average percentile scores measured at the Fall of kindergarten, Spring of kindergarten, first grade, third grade, fifth grade, and eighth grade. To be clear, these are merely cross-sectional views of how the students performed on tests and not longitudinal analyses (which would have given us the rate of change for the scores as well). Results showed that Catholic school students had an initial sizable advantage in reading and math scores. Catholic school students started school in approximately the 61st to 63rd percentile for reading and math, respectively, while public school students started school in the 46th percentile for both reading and math. This amounts to a 16 percentage point difference, favoring Catholic schools.


            They had to torture the data you’re talking about further to get your results, but no one is scratching their heads and manipulating control criteria to account for why the average Catholic school kids scores below the average public school kid–absent controls–because that never happens. The average Catholic school kid always outperforms the average public school kid sans manipulation.

            I mean, seriously, if you’re having this debate and this is the first time you’ve had to grapple with the fact that private school kids, religious school kids, and homeschooled kids do better than kids in public schools, then you don’t know shit about this. I mean that’s the first thing! The second thing to know is that private and religious school get much better test results than public schools–with much lower cost per student. Not only does giving poor kids a scholarship to a private school give them a better education, it also saves the taxpayers’ money. Even more so, home schooling typically costs the taxpayers absolutely nothing–and they get better results on average than public schools, too.

            Getting back to the original topic, the point is that if you believe that religious instruction by religious people under the guidance of a church gives kids an inferior education because of the religious instruction, you are wrong. You have to twist the data in knots to get to a situation where public schools are anywhere near as good as religious schools.

            P.S. Trapping poor kids in inferior public schools that cost the taxpayer more money out religious bigotry isn’t only stupid. It’s also probably objectively racist.

            1. “They had to torture the data you’re talking about further to get your results…”

              No, that is not “torturing” the data. Learn some basic statistics and scientific reasoning. I teach my students (high school physics, public, by the way) about experimental design. But I’m always looking for ways to make sure these lessons stick, rather than just be something that they work through in order to pass the test and then forget as soon as they leave high school. The comments of an article aren’t the best place for this, but I’ll try anyway.

              In experiments, there is an independent variable under test with a dependent variable that the hypothesis proposes is affected by the independent variable. In this case, the independent variable is the type of school, and test scores are the dependent variable. For controlled experiments, all other variables are held constant so that any correlation between the two can be seen as evidence that there could be a causal relationship. If other factors are not constant, then you have no way of knowing whether any differences in the dependent variable are due to the independent variable or the other factors not held constant.

              What you call “torturing” the data is simply an attempt to rule out factors other than the type of school in any differences between test results. The ideal experiment would be to randomly assign students to regular public schools or Catholic schools in large enough numbers to average out any differences in the populations of students, but that obviously cannot be done.

              The article explains all of this quite well, so I’m really baffled by your resistance to what it has to say, given that it was you that linked it.

              If you really want to know why students at Catholic schools, other religious schools, or homeschooled students perform better on standardized tests (to whatever extent that is true on average), then you first need to understand whether it is the school itself that is the issue, or is it a matter of differences in the populations of students that have nothing to do with the school. And then, even if differences persist after controlling for other variables, you still need to investigate what it is about the schools that result in different outcomes for students. Is it the religion? Is it the fact that they are private schools that can be more strict on discipline and more easily expel students with behavior issues? Is it differences in curriculum?

              As a teacher, I really want to know what works and what doesn’t. I’m not just looking for “choice” as a solution because of ideology or religious belief. If one school really does do something better, then I’d want to know what that is so that my school can do it too.

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  21. You see all that arguing ABOVE?? That’s all the result of a GOV trying to “micromanage” a Commie education system. If there was no Commie Education; there wouldn’t be tax-exemptions on donations to it ( in some theory that tax money goes their anyways ) and we could all just stop arguing about it as well as save countless “who’s gonna dictate” question in the justice system.

    It’s time to reverse this ever-growing “democratic dictation” and start electing politicians that won’t support anything not specifically granted as a power of the government.

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