The Supreme Court issued a ruling Tuesday against the state of Maine and a taxpayer-funded tuition assistance voucher program it offered for private schools that specifically excluded religious or sectarian schools from receiving those funds.
Numerous liberal media pundits and Democrat-aligned organizations were infuriated by the ruling and decried the supposed “breaking down” of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and the notion of separation between church and state, the Daily Caller reported.
But that isn’t what the ruling did, and those pundits and organizations conveniently — and perhaps deliberately — overlooked the fact that the high court rectified an actual violation of the Constitution by way of the state’s purposeful discrimination against parents and schools with sincerely held religious beliefs.
States can’t discriminate
According to Breitbart, the case of Carson v. Makin centered on a school voucher program Maine offered for parents to use for tuition assistance at public or private schools in school districts without secondary education, though the program specifically excluded “sectarian” private schools from receiving those funds.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the 6-3 majority opinion, determined that Maine’s voucher program was unconstitutional in that it violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits governments from “indirect coercion or penalties on the free exercise of religion, not just outright prohibitions.”
In doing so, he cited the precedent set in a similar case in 2020 with Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, in which it had been concluded that 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.”
“The State pays tuition for certain students at private schools — so long as the schools are not religious. That is discrimination against religion,” the chief justice wrote about the Maine program. “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.”
Misreading the ruling
The Daily Caller noted that several cable news pundits — such as CNN’s legal analysts Jeffrey Toobin and Jennifer Rodgers — decried the court’s “conservative majority” and how it was “breaking down” the separation of church and state and violating the Establishment Clause that prohibits governments from establishing a state religion.
One legal pundit, Elie Mystal of leftist outlet The Nation, completely misread the ruling and declared in a tweet thread, “Somehow taxpayer money NOT going to religious schools violates those schools’ religious rights,” before going on to link this particular ruling directly to Senate Republicans blocking then-SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland from the high court in 2016.
Also lashing out against the ruling was Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association teachers’ union, who tweeted, “All students deserve a great public education. But with its radical ruling in Carson v. Makin, SCOTUS again undermined public schools & the students they serve in favor of funding private religious schools that serve only a few & often discriminate against students & employees.”
Then there was Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, who absurdly proclaimed amid a thread of angry tweets, “Understand, friends, that this type of attack on church-state separation doesn’t just undermine public education. It also puts reproductive freedom and justice, LGBTQ equality, racial justice, climate justice and democracy itself all in grave peril.”
Finally, there was the anti-Christian Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali who, in attempting to attack the Supreme Court’s ruling, actually unintentionally underlined the basic premise of the conclusion when he wrote, “Private Islamic schools and Jewish schools should open up all over Maine. The state has to fund you now so take advantage of it. Move your communities there as well. Let’s see what the Supreme Court says …”