Blaine: Arcane, Inane, On the Wane

October 1, 2002

October 2002

Blaine: Arcane, Inane, On the Wane

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has removed the federal Establishment Clause from their arsenal, teachers’ unions and other defenders of the educational status quo have vowed to use any remaining weapon to kill school choice. That includes the religion clauses found in most state constitutions, such as the so-called Blaine Amendments–unfortunate remnants of anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant hysteria in the late 1800s.

In this post-Zelman world, it is critical for advocates to educate themselves in the new language of school choice–Blaine Amendments, “compelled support,” “viewpoint discrimination,” and so on. IJ’s school choice team has prepared a comprehensive backgrounder on the state constitutional hurdles facing school choice–and our litigation strategy to knock them down–as well as answers to frequently asked questions about state religion clauses. Both can be found on our website. Included are answers to questions such as:

Why are the opponents of parental choice suddenly focusing on state constitutions’ religion clauses as a means of derailing school choice programs?

What exactly are Blaine Amendments?

Does the federal Constitution limit the interpretation of these state religion clauses in any way?

What does IJ plan to do about restrictive interpretations of state religion clauses?

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