Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue (U.S. Supreme Court, 2019)

Separation of Church & State

U.S. Supreme Court ,

Separation of Church & State

The Montana Constitution contains a provision that provides for stricter separation of church and state than the First Amendment. Based on it, the State's Supreme Court struck down a tuition-tax credit program that on paper supports secular and religious schools, but disproportionately benefited faith-based institutions. At issue before the U.S. Supreme Court is whether the Free Exercise Clause requires states to fund religious education when they support private secular schools. ADL joined a brief asserting that it does not. Longstanding U.S. Supreme Court precedent allows states to provide for stricter church-state separation than the First Amendment requires. Furthermore, the Court's 2017 decision concerning public funding for a religious school’s playground resurfacing materials has no bearing on the case and actually reaffirmed this principle.