School Choice

School Choice Returns to the Supreme Court

The justices heard oral arguments this week in Carson v. Makin.


In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue (2020), the U.S. Supreme Court said that if a state provides educational subsidies that help parents send their children to private schools, then the state "cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious." It was a big win for both school choice and religious liberty advocates.

Those advocates may now be on the cusp of another victory. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Wednesday in Carson v. Makin, a case which asks whether Maine's tuition assistance program ran afoul of the Constitution by excluding private schools that offer "sectarian" education.

Religious schools "satisfy every secular requirement to participate in the tuition assistance program. It is only because of religion that they are excluded," said Michael Bindas, the lawyer for the family challenging the policy. "You can call that discrimination based on religious use. You can call it discrimination based on religious status. Either way, it is discrimination based on religion, and either way, it is unconstitutional."

Christopher Taub, the chief deputy attorney general for the state of Maine, offered a different view. "This Court has made clear that the government is entitled to define the scope of a financial benefit in order to advance its own value judgments, even when doing so might disadvantage activity protected by the First Amendment," Taub told the Court. "If the federal government can provide funding to family planning services on the condition that it not be used to discuss abortion, a state should be allowed to condition paying a child's tuition on the condition that the school not promote religious beliefs."

"Let's suppose you have two schools," Chief Justice John Roberts said to Taub. "School A is run by Religion A," which has nothing in its "doctrine about propagating the faith…so it does look just like a public school, but it's owned by religion." Meanwhile, "Religion B also has a school, and its doctrine requires adherence to educate children in the faith."

"Would the first school get the funds?" Roberts asked Taub.

"Yes," the state lawyer replied.

"Would the second school?" Roberts followed up.

"No," Taub answered. "Because [Religion B's] program is specifically instilling and promoting religion in students."

"And the other religion does not," Roberts clarified.

"That is correct," Taub confirmed.

"So you're discriminating among religions based on their belief, right?" Roberts concluded.

Taub rejected that characterization but it was far from clear that a majority of the Court was willing to see things his way.

A decision in Carson v. Makin is expected by late June.

NEXT: Another Defeat for Biden's Vaccine Mandate, Even as America Passes Another Vaccination Milestone

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  1. Rule public schools unconstitutional.

    1. in the words of Alice Cooper 'school's out....forever!'

      1. Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening…FGIh And i get surly a check of $12600 what’s awesome is I m working from home so I get more time with my kids.

        Try it, you won’t regret it........VISIT HERE

      2. Public schools will be around for a long time.

        Welcome to my nightmare.

        1. school my frankenstein.

    2. "Rule public schools unconstitutional."
      Somebody here pointed out quite a while back that what we have are really government schools open to the public. What we call "private" schools are also typically open to the public; what separates them is the funding source.
      They've been 'government schools' in my lexicon ever since.

      1. You make a good point.

    3. Public schools may be toast but religion will be the end of us all.

      1. No it won't, it certainly hasn't ended me or millions of others.

    4.'s a no brainier that federal funding is UN-Constitutional.

  2. Is "school choice" code for "white parents pulling their kids out of public schools with mandatory CRT classes"? Because if so I oppose school choice.


    1. Lol this is how teacher's union members actually think

  3. Is this how we get different classes of people?

    1. No.
      We get different classes of people by listening to, and adopting, democrat party policies.

      1. Maybe I should have said class warfare.

        Or maybe I was thinking in another school of thought.

        Chumby I need some lessons.

        1. Well done Dace.

  4. This appears to be a clear cut case of religious discrimination.

  5. If you are looking for casual contacts with fine shemales in France you must to visit Shemale Sex Le Havre

    1. dude if I'm in France last thing I'm looking up is the shemales.

      1. Yeah! That's what tiwan is for

      2. If you're in France looking to connect with someone, female or shemale, by posting to the Reason comments section, you're doing it wrong.

        "Hey baby, Souhaitez-vous discuter des implications de Carson v. Makin?"

      3. There’s a place in France where the naked trannies dance.
        There’s a hole in the wall where the guys can see it all.

  6. It was a big win for both school choice and religious liberty advocates.

    "Religious liberty" in this context means we are going to use taxpayer funds to pound nonsensical religious dogma into the soft heads of captive students.

    1. Yeah. CRT is still being taught.

    2. Taxpay funds are being used to provide an education to children. If the parents choose to have that school also pound nonsensical religious dogma into the soft heads of their own captive kids, well that is just a free perk.

    3. Better religious indoctrination to include the 10 Commandments, than the Marxist indoctrination that white students should I hate themselves.

      You should also note that public schools are getting rid of failing grades while private schools are maintaining standards

      1. “public schools are getting rid of failing grades”

        Are you referring to Oregon high schools? Or ???

    4. I get it: religion seems like a bunch of irrational, nonsensical, hocus pocus mumbo jumbo. But so are progressives, and you don’t see Christian schools trying to knock the false narratives out of their mouths.

      1. Progressive narratives like biology?

        That's what you ridiculous cretins tried to get kicked out of school when I was that age.

        Stop pretending to be a modern, educated person. It's embarrassing for all concerned.

        1. On the contrary, people like you tried to remove religion from public schools and establish an environment comparable to France's laicism, and actually succeeded in doing that multiple times.

          It's also laughable to claim that biology is "progressive" when progressives can't accept the fact that individuals are born either male or female, and cannot change their sex whatsoever. For the theist that believes in an omnipotent God, creation is no stretch; yet many progressives of Marxist thought, which is completely incompatible with religion, keep pushing the idea of non-binary gender-fluid individuals, which completely flies in the face of basic biology.

          What a load of hypocrites. The so-called "party of science" will never get my respect for advocating this and other nonsense like CRT and pushing such ideas in public schools. "Woe unto you . . . hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."

          Tony, please repent of your ways.

    5. ""Religious liberty" in this context means we are going to use taxpayer funds to pound nonsensical religious dogma into the soft heads of captive students."

      Almost. Religious Liberty in this case means that when the state provides money to people, it cannot restrict how they spend that money based on religious reasons. It's called the First Amendment. To say that you cannot spend money for your child on something religious is the State establishing religious tests, which it is prohibited from doing.

      1. It is not that clear cut... the 1st also says "make no laws respecting an establishment of religion".
        For years, that was largely seen as a (almost) complete prohibition on government funding to religious entities, even when the money would be going to fully secular causes. SCOTUS overruled, allowed monies to go to religious based organization for secular causes, and prevented discriminating against them based solely on that fact that they are religious based. This would be government monies going to religious organizations for non-secular reasons; namely religious education

        1. Maybe.

          But they are still accredited schools teaching an academic curriculum. It's not teaching religion, even if the students go to church during the day or have a required class in augury or have after lunch meditation, because a purely religious education would never qualify for accreditation.

          I remember a local K-8 catholic school where I grew up. They had an hour a day of bible study, which seemed a lot to me when I was in Jr High. But when all of those kids went to the public schools, usually some time in middle school or as freshmen in high school, they were all at least an academic year ahead of everyone else.

          They spent a lot of time being catholics, and yet, even with that time "wasted" they still had better results academically. Because they were a school first, who also happened to be catholic.

          I also won't make the long argument for progressivism being equivalent to a religion, just mention it.

          1. I went to Catholic grade school, high school and a Jesuit university that required courses in theology for your B.A. or B.S. I was an atheist by the end of Junior Year. Just one data point.

            BTW, I was qualified for the same state and Federal funded scholarships, grants and loans another student might use at Enormous State.

          2. They don't teach progressivism in schools. You're being lied to. You've made yourself uneducated on purpose. So stop meddling with other people's children, and stop forcing me to give money to churches.

            1. Plenty of school boards are doing their hardest to put nonsensical progressive ideas like CRT and transgenderism into public schools. To deny this is like looking directly at the sun and saying the sun does not shine.

              School choice allows money to go to the student directly, which in turn decides what school to pick. That's not your money going to the churches, that's a 1st Amendment right.

              You do not believe in religious freedom, Tony.

        2. For years, that was largely seen as a (almost) complete prohibition on government funding to religious entities

          . . . because people who had zero respect for either the wording or the intent of the Establishment Clause or the Fourteenth Amendment imposed a wholly ridiculous interpretation of them in order to make their personal views into "law".

          It is, in fact, entirely clear-cut that the sole purpose of the Establishment Clause was to allow the states the full privilege of deciding whether and how to have established state churches without interference from the Federal government. Which is why it prohibited Congress not merely from establishing a national religion, but from making any laws, positive or negative, "respecting an establishment of religion", a phrasing chosen to include any such establishment by a state.

          There is, accordingly, no coherent way to "incorporate" the clause against the states via the Fourteenth Amendment (either by the proper "privileges and immunities" method or the idiotic and oxymoronic "substantive due process" method), since it never specified any right of any people to not live in a place without an established religion, it merely protected the right of the states to legislate without interference on the subject.

          That understood, the rest of the First Amendment, which deals entirely with actual individual rights, can be incorporated against the states, and that includes the Free Exercise Clause. With the Establishment Clause properly ignored entirely (since the case involves a state, not the Federal Government) and the Free Exercise clause applied (since it has been properly incorporated), the conclusion is, in fact, entirely clear-cut.

          1. If that's how it goes then Maine should have right to not spend money on religious indoctrination. Teaching people religion is not "education" by the way its "indoctrination". Teaching "beliefs" is not education.

            1. No, because of the incorporation of the Free Exercise clause, which I specifically mentioned. If a school otherwise qualifies for funding, Maine cannot then take it away because the school's administration also chooses to freely exercise its religion, which includes engaging in religious indoctrination during the school day (as established by literal millennia of precedent).

              In principle, if Maine were establish atheism as its state religion and, as part of that establishment, chose to exclusively fund schools run by atheists, that would be fine (under the Establishment Clause properly applied, which, of course, the current courts do not do, but the principle holds). Just as it would bee free to establish any other religion and specifically fund that religion's institutions and not those of other religions.

              But once it decided that funding schools operated by adherents of various religions was fine (as the Maine AG testified), it could not then deny them funding on the basis that the adherents used the school to exercise their religion (by indoctrinating students in it), thanks to the incorporation of the Free Exercise clause.

              1. Declaring "atheism" a state religion would be like designating "being naked" the official state clothing.

                1. The former communist states would like to have a word with you. As does the likes of Madalyn O'Hair.

          2. Yes, but as you alluded to, I was arguing that it is not clear cut do to SCOTUS case law and precedent. They have a long and storied history of wiping their asses with the Constitution to support their own personal ideologies and have made a mess of things. If nothing else, we should completely ban the SCOTUS's use of stare decisis and force them to pervert the Constitution on their own, instead of relaying on former members to do it for them.

            That said... it is certainly not clear cut in the way you are saying either.

            There is no reason to look to the 14th, so I will leave that out (it should be appealed anyway).

            This is where you err... " the rest of the First Amendment, which deals entirely with actual individual rights". Actual text:

            Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

            You seem to be parsing it out as if the first bit is a state right, while the others are individual; that is not supported by the text in any way. "Congress shall make no law" is equally referring to religion establishment, religious practice, speech, press, assemble, and petition. Either "Congress" is Big C and refers to the U.S. Congress, or "Congress" is Little c and refers to legislative bodies of the federal, state, and local levels. If you take the former, which is what you appear to be doing, then there is no right to live it a state without state sponsored media or state censored speech either. If you take the latter, then the state has no right to establish a religion or prohibit your free exercise thereof.

    6. Separation of education and state.

    7. And if that is what parents want their children to be taught, why not? Doesn't mean they'll learn. My folks sent me to a Christian school complete with a Bible class. Guess what, I got straight As and one F. In Bible.

      1. Did you have to go to summer school or repeat the Bible class? Assuming that it was a required class. A god school can't have students flunking out of a god class.

        1. I did not.

    8. turd lies; it’s all he ever does. turd is a TDS-addled pathological liar, entirely too stupid to remember which lies he posted even minutes ago, and also too stupid to understand we all know he’s a liar.
      If anything he posts isn’t a lie, it’s totally accidental.
      turd lies; it’s what he does. turd is a lying pile of lefty shit who should fuck off and die.

  7. the public school is system is preaching dogma more intense and focused than any religious school is attempting.

  8. Antisocial, disaffected, conservative, anti-government cranks who prefer nonsense-teaching schools for children are among my favorite culture war casualties.

    1. You’re the asshole who wants to teach racist claptrap.

      1. Why do you hate modern America, you bigoted rube?

        1. Why don't you fuck off and die, asshole bigot?

          1. I prefer to continue to shove progress down the bigoted, whining, powerless throats of clingers like you, Sevo.

            Open wider, loser.

    2. My favorite culture war tragedies are in Virginia.

    3. Cry harder, the tide is turning against public school. Home schooler ranks have tripled in the last two years.

      1. It's still just a few slack-jawed yokels from Utah, West Virginia, Alabama, and South Carolina teaching their children to be the next generation of superstitious, ignorant, bigoted hayseeds.

        The culture war tide is not turning. The culture war is not over but it has been settled. Clingers hardest hit, by their betters.

        1. Black american families actually increased homeschooling the most out of all groups.

          but you are an ignorant fool so why bother giving you facts.

    4. You'd be mistaken. Those "nonsense-teaching schools" have better-performing students than what we see in public schools.

  9. Government run education is in a death spiral. It will face massive reforms or be overwhelmed by school choice.

  10. Democrats are the Champions of Choice. THEY get to choose what is best for you! 😉

  11. Democrats are weird. They want you to be able to choose to murder your baby but be unable to choose where and how to educate your baby.

    1. "if you're going to burden the planet with your spawn at least give it to us so it can be die-cast."

    2. People are not forced to live anywhere.

      You don't know what you're talking about because you think in propagandistic slogans like "school choice."

      What does it actually mean? Every poor black parent in the ghetto gets to send their children to a rich suburban school? Is that what you want?

      1. "Every poor black parent in the ghetto gets to send their children to a rich suburban school? Is that what you want?"

        Do you object to that? Do you support the likes of McAuliffe instead, who stated parents should have no part in their children's education?

  12. It's amazing to me listening to people that try and work themselves into pretzels explaining why their very clear discrimination, isn't actually discrimination, and you're stupid if you say so. John Roberts so easily pointed that out and even then the AG of Maine was faced with it right in front of his, his cognitive dissonance kicked in and he still can't accept it. lmfao

    1. So what the US constitution demands that we discriminate against the establishment of religion.

      1. You read it as one thing and think of it as something else. You don't know the Constitution to save your life.

  13. How far can a charter school go before public funds should be withheld? Bob's School for Left-handed Alaskan Pipe Welders? Jim Jones school of Worship? Mosque of the Holy Hand Grenade?

    1. If they're legal and in business, that's good enough.

    2. "Public funds" is the source of the problem. Take that aspect out of the assumptions and parents would be more mindful of how their money gets spent on education for their children,

      1. That's the best answer. A more plausible in this statist paradise is government-funded, but not government-run. I believe parents would still careful with their choices, still try to get the best bang for their buck, especially if they can pay beyond the voucher from their own money for extra value.

        1. Once the voucher or scholarship node l prevails, then we can start re placing state funding with voluntary donations, on the Community Chest/United Way model. Taxes earmarked for school funding would have to be repealed, of course.

          [/fantastic idealism]

      2. And poor parents could be mindful of how their children and grandchildren are going to be illiterate, and there's nothing they can do about it.

        1. Why are you so cynical of parents and private schools? Statistics show that students are generally better off in private schools than government-funded public ones.

  14. education of children is just too important to leave up to the government.

  15. Competition for schooling is the best hope for minority students to escape poverty. That's why the lefturds are so bitterly opposed to it.


  16. Chumby

    December.9.2021 at 4:48 pm

    A civil liberty is keeping the money you worked for and not having it coercively taken by a government. Using taxpayer dollars to fund someone else’s education is in opposition to that.

  17. Theoretically a state could use the police power to force people to send their children to public schools.

    1. This case, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, would have to be overturned.

  18. If you want to run a religious school, fine, that is your right, if you want your school to discriminate against students based on LGBT or religion, fine also. But it is wrong to have the government fund these schools that discriminate.

    Religious freedom in this country is now the ability to discriminate and force the government to pay for you to do it. That is wrong and backwards.

    1. "the ability to discriminate and force the government to pay for you to do it."


      1. That is what they want and that is what they will get. We are moving to a country where the religious have special privileges over the secular.

        1. No one's forcing the government to pay for anything for anybody.

          1. This case, and the one from Philly is about forcing the government to pay religious groups that discriminate.

            1. The government doesn’t have to pay anyone to go to school, but if it does give parents choice, it can’t preclude options based on religion.

              That’s not forcing the government to pay for anything: they could always cancel the program entirely.

        2. Allowing parents and children to choose where they go to school instead of leaving it to the whims of some drone in a public union is a great example of democracy. Don't you think? People voting with their most important asset, their children?

        3. We're moving towards a country where facts don't matter because they get in the way of progressive false narratives.

          1. Yes, and other facts don’t matter because they get in the way of conservative false narratives.

            Yes, both sides.

            1. Yeah, both sides.

              Except one side has control of the government, academia, most of the important news, etc.

              But, both sides.

          2. When was the last time you encountered a fact? Name the website.

            1. More recent than you have, that's for sure.

    2. Those schools also teach the three r's a lot better than anything touched by a student union.

      1. I meant teachers union.

      2. Do they? I know many religious schools where the students know very little outside of religious studies.

        1. You could say the same thing about a lot of public schools.

          1. Brian, do you think tax dollars should go to churches or not?

            1. Tony, do you think tax dollars should go to students with school choice or not?

        2. Citation needed.

  19. Funny how the courts can argue about tiny thorns but have yet to acknowledge that big elephant that the federal government has ZERO authority in education.

    So the Constitutional answer is CUT federal funding/mandates 100%.

  20. Congresscritters who wanted the feds to pony up for schools used the power to appropriate for national defense as the "thin edge of the wedge." `cause the Army needed trained engineers and such.
    to make sure we had enough scientists to beat the Reds!

  21. Proselytizing religion is just another way of educating! And taxpayers should thus pay for it.

    Fuck the theocrats. Stupid fucking children in robes. Anyone who believes that a religious narrative from thousands of years ago is actually true deserves to be locked in a padded cell, not making law for hundreds of millions of people.

    1. ...And +1000 for the modern religious cults like Female Empowerment, Global Warming (or. whoops. Changing), and Race baiting.

      Those are the religions making laws and living off of slave labor (stolen money) like nobodies business.

    2. Your bigotry is noted and reported, Tony.

  22. I think Michael Mallice either wrote this or shared but very insightful

    Govt provides food stamps but doesn't make the recipient shop at the govt run grocery store.

    I'm all for spending public funds on education but the current 20th century centrally planned union dominated govt school system has failed and should be replaced.

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