Victory for Children and for Educational Choice

Victory for Children and for Educational Choice

In a victory for parents, children, and for education as a whole, the U.S. Supreme Court has left intact the state of Arizona’s 14-year old individual tax credit provision that allows a $500 contribution to be made to private schools – including religious schools.  In a 5-4 decision, the court found that the plaintiffs lacked legal “standing” to challenge the tax-credit provision.

The tax-credit was designed to help parents pay for education outside the publicly-funded education system.  This allows for parents who are footing the entire bill for their child’s education to be compensated in a small way and makes a major contribution to the understanding that parent’s have a choice in their child’s education.

Opponents of the tax credit insisted that helping in any way to pay for a private education – particularly to a religious school – violates the First Amendment and that they as citizens were being harmed by being forced to, in effect, contribute to religious institutions.

Attorneys defending the system had counter-argued that since the law only allows taxpayers to direct their own tax dollars to religious schools, the plaintiffs lacked the standing to sue because their tax payments were not being used.‪‪   The court ruled that the defendants needed to show specific individual harm.

Alliance Defense Fund attorney, David Cortman said in a statement:  “Parents should be able to choose what’s best for their own children. This ruling empowers parents to do just that.”  He continued: “The ACLU failed in its attempt to eliminate school choice for hundreds of thousands of students nationwide and also failed to demonstrate that it had any constitutional basis for its clients to file suit in the first place.”

The ACLU sees it quite differently.  ACLU Legal Director, Steven Shapiro:  “Today’s decision ignores precedent, defies logic and undermines the role of the courts in preserving the core constitution principle that government may not subsidize religion.”

The Arizona Tax credit program is the third-largest school choice program in the country and the nation’s oldest tax credit program.  This is an important victory for school choice programs around the country.  United Families International offers congratulations to all involved.

More information:

Supreme Court Upholds Educational Choice

Supreme Court Rules Arizona Taxpayers Lack Standing To Challenge Tax Credit System Used To Fund Religious-Based Scholarships

School Choice Program Prevails. Kids & Parents Ultimately Win

  • Choice and Accountability
    Posted at 17:31h, 05 April

    This is, indeed, wonderful news! As one of “we-the-people,” I would love a tax program like this in my state. I only wish I could better direct the placement of my tax dollars; for instance, I would direct them away from Planned Parenthood.

  • United Families International
    Posted at 19:48h, 05 April

    We join you on the desire to direct funding away from Planned Parenthood!

    This SCOTUS decision was extremely critical to the continuation of tax credits/vouchers for educational choice not only in Arizona, but in other states. If the ruling had gone the other way, it more than likely would have laid the groundwork for all similar tax credit programs to be wiped out. Hopefully this ruling will embolden other states to put in place similar tax-credit provisions. So you might just get one in your state!

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