State Policy Network
Students and their families win big in US Supreme Court case

In a significant win for K-12 students and their families, the Supreme Court held in Carson v. Makin that Maine cannot exclude religious schools from a parental choice program. The decision means more Maine families will have better access to quality education options that set them up for success.

The Institute for Justice and First Liberty Institute filed the lawsuit on behalf of three families in Maine who wanted to use money from a school choice program to attend a religious school. Maine’s program gives tuition money to students to attend a private school in lieu of their public school. However, a state law said families could not use the tuition money to attend religious schools—discrimination that IJ, First Liberty, and those three families argued was unfair and unconstitutional. The Supreme Court sided with the three families, noting: “A State need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”

When the Supreme Court handed down the decision on June 21, 2022, the Institute for Justice noted: “Parents have a constitutional right to choose such schools for their children, and the Court today held that a state cannot deny them that choice in programs that allow for other private options.”

Several Network groups filed amicus briefs in the case, including: The American Federation for Children, Americans for Prosperity, The Buckeye Institute, Cato, EdChoice, Liberty Justice Center, Maine Policy Institute, and the Pioneer Institute.

US Supreme Court decision gives parents more quality education options to help their children succeed

All children deserve a quality education that sets them up for college, a career, and life. Empowering parents to make the best educational choices for their children is one way to reach this goal.

Parents understand their child’s unique learning needs and are often in the best position to decipher what learning option is best—whether that’s a public school, private school, or even a homeschool setting. Carson v. Makin is the latest example of parents regaining more control over their child’s education and future.

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Network commentary on Carson v. Makin

Supreme Court Issues Landmark School Choice Victory for Parents
Institute for Justice

US Supreme Court Decision Important Victory for Educational Freedom
Center of the American Experiment

US Supreme Court Once Again Prohibits Religious Discrimination in School Choice Decision
Mackinac Center

US Supreme Court Delivers Wins for Parents
Empower Mississippi

Supreme Court Delivers Victory for Religious Freedom
John Locke Foundation

Maine Policy Applauds Ruling in Carson v. Makin
Maine Policy Institute

The Supreme Court Explains School Choice (Again), but is the South Carolina Senate Listening?
Palmetto Promise Institute

A SCOTUS Victory for Private School Choice
Show-Me Institute

School Choice Funds Students, Not Schools
Texas Public Policy Foundation

Maine Decision Points The Way Toward Universal School Choice
Ethan Allen Institute

Funding All Parents’ Education Choices
Libertas Institute

Ruling in Maine School Case Highlights Interplay of Religion Clauses in the First Amendment
Sutherland Institute

Funding All Parents’ Education Choices
Libertas Institute

Supreme Court Decision Advances Educational Freedom
California Policy Center

Categories: Policy Issues
Organization: State Policy Network