School Choice Victory at Supreme Court Will "Advance Black Lives"

Discriminatory Blaine Amendments Denied Educational Opportunities to Families in Need

Style Magazine Newswire | 7/1/2020, 5:17 p.m.

"This is a start in the right direction," said Project 21 member Marie Fischer, a former Maryland school board candidate. "Parents should not be penalized because they feel their child would receive a better education at a religious-based institution. For those who say education is a right, can't it be that a quality education is a right?"

In an amici curiae (or "friends of the court") legal brief that Project 21 joined, the justices were told that "denying parents their preferred educational option simply because their desired school has a religious affiliation inflicts direct and significant injury on parents and children." It added that "[r]eligious discrimination is particularly pernicious when it intersects with a fundamental liberty interest like directing children's education." The brief claimed that the government's interest in indirectly funding a religious school is "miniscule."

The Center for Education Reform coordinated the brief that Project 21 joined. It was written by Paul Clement, a former solicitor general of the United States. Other groups joining the brief include the American Legislative Exchange Council, Jack Kemp Foundation and Catholic Charities DC.

Project 21 Co-Chairman Stacy Washington, a former member of a Missouri school board, added: "Almost 20 years ago to the day, in the Mitchell v. Helms decision, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a majority opinion that held that taxpayer money could be spent to aid parochial schools. It is a sad commentary that it took the Supreme Court this long to address the rights of poor children to access the same quality of educational options that wealthy families enjoy."

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