School Choice in the Supreme Court: Does All Your Money Belong to the Government?

Lindsey Burke /

Tuesday’s election results aren’t the only outcomes this week likely to impact the future of school choice across the country. Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn to determine whether the Grand Canyon State’s scholarship tax credit program violates the establishment clause. The Wall Street Journal writes today:

As ever, the American Civil Liberties Union and other rigid secularists argue that this is unconstitutional support for religion because most parents seek out religiously affiliated programs. A three-judge panel on the oft-overturned Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals bought that argument, reversing a lower court that had upheld the state tax credits.

However, even the Arizona program’s critics concede that every element is religiously neutral and a matter of private parental choice. The state plays only a minor role in administering the tax credits, no role in selecting the donors. While the tax credits reduce state tax revenue, the resulting scholarships also reduce the state’s expense on public education.