Maine School Choice

Anderson v. Town of Durham
Institute for Justice and Maine Parents Challenge State Law Barring Religious Options from School Choice Program

The Institute for Justice is challenging a 1980 Maine legal change that erroneously banned religious schools from the state’s 100-year-old school choice program.  The case was filed on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court victory upholding Cleveland’s school choice program, a decision that gives ammunition to Maine parents fighting for the right to send their children to religious schools through the state’s “tuitioning,” or rural school choice program.

The Institute represents families from three small towns in Maine—Durham, Minot and Raymond—where the local school districts offer high school tuition for students to attend the schools of their choice in lieu of maintaining public schools. For most of its existence, the system permitted the selection of religious schools.

The Institute for Justice argues that the U.S. Supreme Court clearly gave a green light to including religious options in a school choice program such as Maine’s. Furthermore, to bar parents from a religious school option violates a well-established line of U.S. Supreme Court precedents.

Essential Background


Backgrounder: Clearing the Road Ahead for School Choice: IJ Asks U.S. Supreme Court To End Religious Discrimination & Vindicate Parental Liberty

Client Photo - none available

Client Video - none available

Latest Release: U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Review Maine School Choice Case (November 27, 2006)

Legal Briefs and Decisions

Maine Cert. Petition to the U.S.S.C.

Launch Release: IJ Launches School Choice Offensive With Nation’s First Choice Lawsuit After U.S. Supreme Court Victory (September 18, 2002)

Maine Supreme Judicial Court Decision

Case Timeline

Lawsuit Filed:


September 18, 2002

Court Filed:


Cumberland County Superior Court


October 4, 2004: Trial court upheld exclusion of religious- school parents



April 25, 2006: Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld exclusion of religious-school

July 25, 2006: IJ asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review and overturn Maine ruling

November 27, 2006: U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear case



Case completed

Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

Release: Parents Ask U.S. Supreme Court To End Religious Discrimination & Vindicate Full School Choice (July 25, 2006)


Release: Maine High Court Upholds Discrimination Against Parents In Statewide School Choice Program (April 26, 2006)




Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Release: Maine Court Upholds Exclusion of Religious Options From Statewide School Choice Program (October 4, 2004)

Video: Where does the alphabet end?; (August 23, 2010)

Article: IJ Appeals Maine School Choice Case To U.S. Supreme Court, Liberty & Law (October, 2006)


Article: Maine’s tuitioning program applied unfairly (February 11, 2003)

Article: After High Court Victory IJ Goes on the Offense First Stop MAINE; Liberty & Law (October, 2002)

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Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22203
Tel 703.682.9320, Fax 703.682.9321
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