Appeal – MT Supreme Court Accused of Unconstitutional Decision in School Tax Credit Case
A decision by the Montana Supreme Court that ruled that a tax credit program in Montana was unconstitutional will soon be challenged at the U.S. Supreme Court. Attorneys from the Institute for Justice which represent some of the families that received help through the tax credit program are already working on filing the case, the lead attorney Erica Smith explains.
“The Montana Supreme Court issued a decision saying that the program is unconstitutional because it includes scholarships for students attending religious schools, but the Montana Supreme Court did not address the important federal issue of whether their decision is actually violating the Federal Constitution,” Smith said. “The Federal Constitution has protections for religion in there. The government can’t discriminate against religious families.”
Smith says there’s very strong evidence that the Montana Supreme Court has made an unconstitutional decision.
“The Montana Supreme Court decision is an extreme outlier,” Smith said. “It goes against ten other courts across the country and we expect it to be reversed. Alabama, Georgia, New Hampshire, there are multiple decisions on this point. In fact, there are 23 school choice programs almost identical to Montana that are currently operating. Every one that has been challenged has been upheld, including by multiple state supreme courts.”
One of the families represented in the case will be the Espinozas. Kendra Espinoza is a single mom whose daughters were using the tax credit program to attend a private school until state entities including the Montana Department of Revenue and the Montana Supreme court forced the program to end against the wishes of the state legislature.