Supreme Court seems favorable to religious education funding

1010 WINS Newsroom
January 22, 2020 - 11:53 am

This July 31, 2019 photo shows Stillwater Christian School parents Jeri Anderson and Kendra Espinoza at Woodland Park in Kalispell, Mont. The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 in a dispute over a Montana scholarship program for private K-12 education that also makes donors eligible for up to $150 in state tax credits. Advocates on both sides say the outcome could be momentous because it could lead to efforts in other states to funnel taxpayer money to religious schools. (Casey Kreider/The Daily Inter Lake via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court's conservative majority appeared ready Wednesday to reinvigorate a Montana scholarship program that could make it easier to use public money to pay for religious schooling in many states.

The court was sharply divided along ideological lines in arguments over a provision in Montana's constitution that bars state aid to religious schools. Montana is among 37 states with similar “no aid” clauses for religious education.

Chief Justice John Roberts took the bench with his colleagues at 10 a.m., showing no ill effects from a long day Tuesday presiding over the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the Senate, which Roberts gaveled to a close just eight hours earlier.

Like other conservatives, Roberts questioned a state Supreme Court ruling that struck down a scholarship program for private K-12 education that also makes donors eligible for up to $150 in state tax credits. The scholarships can be used at both secular and religious schools, but almost all the recipients attend religious schools.