Maine School Choice Oral Argument
- On behalf of three Maine families, IJ and the First Liberty Institute filed a challenge to Maine’s exclusion of religious options from the state’s school choice program. Our clients all lived in “tuitioning towns,” which offer tuition payments for students to attend the public or private high schools of their choice instead of maintaining public high schools of their own. Our clients wanted to send their children to otherwise qualified religious schools, but a state law prohibited towns from paying tuition to those schools.
- We argued Maine’s law violated the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause. The state argued, and the district court and federal appeals court agreed, that the law did not discriminate based on schools’ religious status but rather based on the religious use to which tuition payments would be put.
- In June 2022, in a 6-3 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court held that states cannot prohibit families that participate in educational choice programs from selecting schools that provide religious instruction. Educational choice programs must be neutral regarding religion and allow families to choose the school that works best for their children.
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