- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Supreme Court’s liberal justices on Wednesday pounced on a Montana voucher program case, peppering attorneys with questions about the program’s ban on funding tuition at religious schools.

Early in oral arguments, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg questioned the plaintiffs’ standing to bring the case by asking, “Where is the harm?”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor — in comments echoed later by Justice Stephen G. Breyer — asked if the plaintiffs’ arguments essentially would tip public funding of education on its head, mandating taxpayers pay for private, religious education.

“That’s a radical argument,” said Justice Sotomayor.

In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, religious liberty advocates are challenging a state law prohibiting funding for schools run by a “church, sect, or denomination.”



In 2015, the Montana State Legislature enacted a bill creating a scholarship program allowing tax-deductible donations of up to $150 to be pooled together to pay tuition for the children of low-income parents. The Montana Supreme Court declared the program unconstitutional in its support for religious schools.

However, conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court — led by Justice Samuel A. Alito — suggested Wednesday that any state ban on funding a scholarship program solely on the basis of race would be unconstitutional.

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