Huge School Choice Supreme Court Win for Montana [AUDIO]
The Montana Family Foundation's Jeff Laszloffy called it a "huge win" for Montana taxpayers, school choice advocates, and religious liberties. This, after the US Supreme Court overturned a ruling by the Montana Supreme Court which effectively discriminated against faith-based schools.
We shared the news (via Fox News) live on the radio shortly after the ruling was announced Tuesday morning:
In the 5-4 ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court essentially backed a Montana tax-credit scholarship program that gave residents up to a $150 credit for donating to private scholarship organizations, helping students pay for their choice of private schools. The state's revenue department made a rule banning those tax-credit scholarships from going to religious schools before the state's supreme court later struck down the entire program.
Here's what was so outrageous with the position taken by the Bullock Administration and the liberal Montana Supreme Court. They were basically saying that if you get to keep more of your own money through a tax credit, that you aren't allowed to donate that money to a faith-based institution.
Montana's Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) also celebrated the victory from the steps of the US Supreme Court:
I'm very pleased to see the ruling today that overturned the State of Montana's discriminatory action in support of three Montana mothers that are trying to do what is best for their children's education. Today is a major victory across Montana, and for the country for religious liberty. Religious discrimination has no place in our country.
The governor's office was warned by Attorney General Tim Fox that blocking the scholarship was against the Constitution. As the US Supreme Court Justices noted in their ruling:
Shortly after the scholarship program was created, the Montana Department of Revenue promulgated “Rule 1,” over the objection of the Montana Attorney General. That administrative rule prohibited families from using scholarships at religious schools. Mont. Admin. Rule §42.4.802(1)(a) (2015). It did so by changing the definition of “qualified education provider” to exclude any school “owned or controlled in whole or in part by any church, religious sect, or denomination.” Ibid. The Department explained that the Rule was needed to reconcile the scholarship program with the no-aid provision of the Montana Constitution. The Montana Attorney General disagreed. In a letter to the Department, he advised that the Montana Constitution did not require excluding religious schools from the program, and if it did, it would “very likely” violate the United States Constitution by discriminating against the schools and their students. See Complaint in No. DV–15–1152A (Dist. Ct. Flathead Cty.), Exh. 3, pp. 2, 5–6. The Attorney General is not representing the Department in this case.
Here's our full conversation with Jeff Laszloffy from the Montana Family Foundation shortly after the ruling was announced:
Previously, we've gotten a chance to talk about the case with Brent Mead from the Montana Policy Institute. Mead highlighted the extreme partisan politics of Governor Steve Bullock (D-MT), why Bullock was too afraid to outright veto the legislation in the first place, and how the Montana Supreme Court screwed up the case to begin with.
Check out our full conversation with Brent Mead from back in January: