Sotomayor: Maine Decision Dismantles Church-State Separation

Sotomayor: Maine Decision Dismantles Church-State Separation

Sotomayor: Maine Decision Dismantles Church-State Separation

Church-State separation has been dismantled according to Justice Sotomayor. This morning, SCOTUS ruled, in a 6-3 decision, that tuition assistance program operated by Maine cannot discriminate against religious schools.

A little background:

In Maine, several towns don’t have secondary public schools, but there are private schools in the area. So, the state provides tuition assistance. HOWEVER, there was one rule, the parents were not allowed to choose a school that would also offer religious instruction. Which is problematic in my opinion because if the only schools available offered some religious instruction, what were the parents supposed to do? Enroll in a school miles away?

“Maine has enacted a program of tuition assistance for parents who live in school districts that do not operate a secondary school of their own. Under the program, parents designate the secondary school they would like their child to attend—public or private—and the school district transmits payments to that school to help defray the costs of tuition. Most private schools are eligible to receive the payments, so long as they are ‘nonsectarian,'” the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, states. “The question presented is whether this restriction violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.”

“The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment protects against ‘indirect coercion or penalties on the free exercise of religion, not just outright prohibitions,'” the opinion states. “A State’s antiestablishment interest does not justify enactments that exclude some members of the community from an otherwise generally available public benefit because of their religious exercise.”

You can read the entire opinion HERE.

Needless to say, the three most liberal justices had no problem with this discrimination. Furthermore, Justice Sotomayor trotted out that old trope regarding Church-State separation. 

“This Court continues to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build,” Sotomayor wrote, dissenting from the 6-3 decision that broke along ideological lines.

“In just a few years, the Court has upended constitutional doctrine,” she added, “shifting from a rule that permits States to decline to fund religious organizations to one that requires States in many circumstances to subsidize religious indoctrination with taxpayer dollars.”

Which ignores multiple precedents, some of which are included in the majority opinion, such as 
Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia V Comer. THAT case involved a preschool that wasn’t going to be allowed to get their playground recovered because the preschool was a faith-based one. That was in 2017. 

As with Sotomayor, lots of liberals are gnashing their teeth and clutching pearls over this supposed dismantling of Church-State separation. 

NONE of them have room to talk. Especially Randi, who kept schools closed for two years. 

This is a case about CHOICE.  Maine said we will fund students to go to secondary schools. Parents were told they could choose ANY school except those that had a faith-based component. Which is discrimination. SCOTUS made the right decision here. 

This isn’t and never was a case of Church-State separation, no matter how much Sotomayor and all the liberals will try to spin this. 

This is a case about parents right to choose the best education, without Maine putting state mandated limits in place, for their children. 

The dissents are wrong to say that under our decision today Maine “must” fund religious education. Post, at 7 (BREYER, J., dissenting). Maine chose to allow some parents to direct state tuition payments to private schools; that decision was not “forced upon” it. Post, at 4 (SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting). The State retains a number of options: it could expand the reach of its public school system, increase the availability of transportation, provide some combination of tutoring, remote learning, and partial attendance, or even operate boarding schools of its own. As we held in Espinoza, a “State need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.” 591 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 20)….

This was a win for both school choice and religious freedom

Feature Photo Credit: screenshot cropped from the webcast “In Conversation with US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor,” February 14, 2019. Library of Congress.

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9 Comments
  • Hate_me says:

    Sotomayor remains the dumbest person in the history of the Supreme Court. Possibly the worst thing Obama ever did (but that’s a long list of possibles).

    • Oh, on this subject, there have been plenty just as dumb. “Separation of Church and State” is NOT in the Constitution – only in the “penumbras and emanations.”

      What IS in the Constitution is “State shall not discriminate on the basis of religious belief.” (Which, like most of the Bill of Rights, implies that discrimination on a lack of belief is also prohibited. You have the right to speak, which implies the right to NOT speak. You have the right to bear arms, which implies the right to NOT bear arms. Etc., etc., etc.)

    • Skillyboo says:

      Rumor had it that it is actually Kagan. Allegedly RBG would get up and shut her door if she heard Kagan in the hall.

  • Politically Ambidextrous says:

    The definition of indoctrination is “education that I don’t like.” Don’t complain when a madrassa, yeshiva, or parochial school seeks to be qualified and funded on a per-student basis. If they pass the scholastic standards, their additional takes on world history, morality, or other supplemental instruction can’t be used to disqualify their parent-directed government funding.

    • Why should they not be? The key phrase is “parent-directed.” Not State-directed, as it is when a parent is forced to send their student to a “sectarian” school.

      “Sectarian” in quotes there, as all too many of those “schools” are demonstrably more detached from the real world than any “religious” school. Someone with a penis is a woman because they say so. Whites are born racist. Blacks can’t get a photo ID. Biden got 81 million votes.

  • Scott says:

    “This isn’t and never was a case of Church-State separation, no matter how much Sotomayor and all the liberals will try to spin this. ”

    The left has nothing but lies. and yes, Sotomayorrrrrr is one of the dumbest (and most indoctrinated) ever on the court, Kagan and Brown-Jackson aren’t far behind..

  • Cameron says:

    I see that the Wise Lateeeeeena! keeps forgetting that there is no such thing as “Separation of Church in State” in the Constitution.

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