In another blow to Montana’s specious constitution and other states with similar constitutional provisions, the Supreme Court said Tuesday that excluding private religious schools from receiving public money is a violation of the First Amendment in Carson v. Makin in the state of Maine.
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 Tuesday that a Maine tuition assistance program violated the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause for excluding religious schools from eligibility.
The program provides tuition assistance for students without a local public school to attend private institutions – as long as the funding is not used for religious or “sectarian” teaching.
In 2020, the Supreme Court admonished the Montana Supreme Court for striking a scholarship program passed by the legislature that provided money to private religious schools saying it violated the state constitution.
Justice John Roberts wrote in an opinion regarding the scholarship program, “A state need not subsidize private education, but once it decides to do so it cannot disqualify some private schools because they are religious.”
Montana’s constitution states in Article 10, Part 10, Section 6,
Aid prohibited to sectarian schools. (1) The legislature, counties, cities, towns, school districts, and public corporations shall not make any direct or indirect appropriation or payment from any public fund or monies, or any grant of lands or other property for any sectarian purpose or to aid any church, school, academy, seminary, college, university, or other literary or scientific institution, controlled in whole or in part by any church, sect, or denomination.
The Montana constitution should be amended to remove this unconstitutional provision targeting religion in the state.