The Supreme Court this week heard the case of Kendra Espinoza, who appealed to the Supreme Court of Montana’s decision to prohibit public aid to families who want to take their children to private religious and secular schools.
Espinoza had filed an appeal with this court in the state of Montana, in the northwest of the country, after the local government cut off aid to institutions that provided scholarships that allowed children to attend religious schools.
However, in December 2018, the court argued that such subsidies violated the state constitution, which prohibits financial support for any religious school, either directly or indirectly.
One of the lawyers representing Espinoza, Erica Smith, a member of the Institute for Justice’s legal team, told Efe that “the only reason the Montana Supreme Court rejected Espinoza’s complaint is because it refers to religious schools.
However, following the hearing on Wednesday, Smith said she was confident that the U.S. Supreme Court would agree with her, saying that at least five of the nine members of the Court are in favor of her position.
Her assumptions are not unfounded, given the court’s conservative majority.
In presenting the arguments, Justice Brett Kavanaugh said that the article in the Montana Constitution prohibiting funding for religious schools is based on “bias against Catholics” from the late 19th century, even though this text was adopted in 1972.
If the Supreme Court ruling, which will be issued in June, reverses the Montana court’s decision, it would open the door to nationwide legalization of public funding for religious schools.
Currently 37 states have some sort of legislation that does not allow or hinder the issuance of these grants, although Erica Smith claims that only 17 of these prohibit these grants in their entirety.