Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Oklahoma's Blaine provision inconsistent with U.S. Constitution

"Today’s Blaine defenders use the antiquated amendments to thwart efforts to establish school choice options for students, typically cloaking their defense of the provisions in rhetoric of separation of church and state," Lindsey Burke and Jarrett Stepman write in the Journal of School Choice ("Breaking Down Blaine Amendments’ Indefensible Barrier to Education Choice").
Yet the genesis of Blaine amendments does not stem from a correct understanding of the First Amendment; on the contrary, the amendments are inconsistent with a proper understanding of the Establishment Clause. “As a legal matter,” the Institute for Justice notes, “the federal Constitution prohibits states from preferring non-religious schools over religious schools” (Komer, 2013, para. 5). Importantly, the logic of the Blaine defenders has been overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the constitutionality of allowing public money to go to private religious schools via parents’ choices in a 5–4 majority opinion.

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