DOJ Backs These Christian Students In School Choice Case

The Department of Justice filed an amicus brief Thursday in support of students claiming they were discriminated against after the state of Montana denied them placement in a tax credit scholarship program because the school they attended was a Christian one.

The case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, concerns a the Montana Tax Credit Scholarship Program, which allows Montanans to deduct up to $150 of their contribution to a privately run scholarship program. The state department of revenue prompted the suit when it added a rule prohibiting tax credits for contributions to schools owned or operated by “a church, religious sect, or denomination.”

A group of parents brought suit on behalf of their children in December 2015 after they were denied participation in the scholarship program because their children attended a Christian-run school. The suit made it to a state trial court, which sided with the parents; the state then appealed to the Supreme Court of Montana, where DOJ lodged its Thursday amicus.

The Department’s brief argues that the state violated the First Amendment’s prohibition on government interference in the free exercise of religion by denying the religious students access to the scholarship fund.

Read more at The Washington Free Beacon