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Chairman Scott Statement on SCOTUS Decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue

07.01.20

WASHINGTON – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, in which the Court struck down a state policy that prevented taxpayer money from being used to pay for students to attend religious schools.    

“The Supreme Court’s ruling in Espinoza forces Montanan taxpayers to fund a program which would allow parents to funnel those funds or subsidies to mostly private religious schools. Further, the ruling requires, not just allows, that those taxpayer subsidies be diverted to fund religious education.

“Although the Court’s ruling specifically notes that the Espinoza decision is not a mandate that States divert public funds to private schools, it still creates a dangerous slippery slope by allowing states to fund private, often religious, education. The fact remains that more than 90 percent of students nationwide are served in public schools. Taxpayer subsidized tuition scholarship programs that take money away from public education to subsidize largely private religious education of a relatively small number of children hurts students attending public schools.

“Even more troubling, because of the sincerely held beliefs of some of these religious programs, the students, teachers, and personnel at those institutions can be denied basic civil rights protections.  The Court’s ruling to allow the diversion of public dollars to religiously based schools will undermine our collective responsibility to provide equitable educational opportunities for all students.” 

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