Church, School, and the Supreme Court

Fresh off upholding the Bladensburg Cross, the Supreme Court has taken another case with even more at stake for religious liberty. On Friday the Justices agreed to hear a challenge that involves Montana's Blaine Amendment, a constitutional provision that bars tax-credit scholarships from going to religious schools.

In 2015 lawmakers in Helena passed Montana's first school-choice program. Students wanting to attend a private school could receive money from a nonprofit scholarship fund. Donors contributing to such funds, in turn, could get a state tax credit of up to $150. More than a dozen states have implemented similar programs with wide success.

But Montana's constitution includes a Blaine Amendment, a provision saying that no public dollars may flow, directly or indirectly, to any sectarian organization. In the late 19th century many states passed these amendments as a hostile response to Catholic immigrants. Montana's dates to 1889.

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