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Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue

Court Type: U.S. Supreme Court
Status: Closed (Judgment)
Last Update: November 15, 2019

What's at Stake

Whether the U.S. Constitution forces states to fund religious education in violation of longstanding state constitutional rules barring taxpayer support for religious activities.

The Supreme Court has previously ruled that states need not provide educational funding for “essentially religious endeavors” even as part of an otherwise neutral scholarship program. The Court explained that there is a “play in the joints” between the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause and that states have a clear historical interest in avoiding taxpayer support for religious education. This case will test that principle by deciding whether the Montana Supreme Court properly relied on the state constitution to strike down a scholarship program that would have diverted millions of government dollars to religious schooling.

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