We are so excited about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Trinity Lutheran case, and what that could mean for the students in Douglas County and throughout the nation.
As you can tell from today’s Wall Street Journal editorial, the decision could signal the beginning of the end for bigoted “Blaine” language in some 38 state constitutions. But it doesn’t guarantee it.
A quick explanation here. Blaine language says that the government can’t give money to “sectarian” schools. Our Ross Izard explains how these hateful laws came to be and how this post-civil war representative hoped his anti-Catholic crusade would propel him into the White House. (Spoiler…it didn’t.)
Due to Blaine, Trinity Lutheran, a private religious school in Missouri, was denied scrap rubber from a state program to make its playground safer. They sued on First Amendment grounds and won. That doesn’t mean that the Choice Scholarship program in Douglas County Colorado, which gives money for some kids to go to private faith-based schools, automatically is freed from the chains the Colorado Supreme Court put on it due to Colorado’s Blaine language. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has sent back Dougco’s legal challenge back to the Colorado Supreme Court for another look.
Will the Trinity Lutheran decision change the minds of the very liberal Colorado Supreme Court? I’m skeptical, especially since it was more about tire scraps than funding. But if the Colorado court still keeps the Dougco program down, then the U.S. Supreme Court will likely decide. The Colorado court rested its awful plurality decision primarily on Blaine. Dougco’s program provided funding for students’ educations, not just safety materials like tire scraps. This makes it the cleanest, best legal challenge to the core of Blaine.
I’m very hopeful the court will rule for the kids, freeing not just Colorado from Blaine, but 38 states around the country! And that’s why Dougco is so important.
Of course, there is the little matter of an election this year. A majority of the Dougco school board is up for election in the fall. And if even one of those seats goes to the other side, the Dougco scholarship program, along with its vital legal challenge, dies. And children in 38 states continue to be held hostage by a bigot who died in 1893.
Stay tuned as we fight for kids in Dougco, the state, and the nation. This year is key. And when it comes to Blaine, we’re playing for all the marbles.