I previously posted about Senate Bill 8 here. The bill was a response to the Department of Education’s and the Attorney General’s jihad against the Town of Croydon’s policy of using tax revenues to send some of its public school students to private schools in other school districts.
While well-intentioned, as I explained here, Croydon’s policy was not authorized under State law and a legislative fix was needed.
Senate Bill 8 was intended to be that legislative fix. However, the State’s attorney general and certain RINOs in the New Hampshire House amended Senate Bill 8 to expressly discriminate against religious schools. For example:
IV. Pursuant to RSA 193:3, VI, a school board may execute a contract with any approved nonsectarian private school approved by the school board as a school tuition program as defined in RSA 193:3, VII to provide for the education of a child who resides in the school district, and may raise and appropriate money for the purposes of the contract, if the school district does not have a public school at the pupil’s grade level and the school board decides it is in the best interest of the pupil.
In my prior post, I explained that this amendment was unconstitutional under the United States Constitution. I am pleased to say “I told you so.”
From Ed Whalen at National Review’s Bench Memos on June 26th:
In Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, the Supreme Court ruled today that the state of Missouri violated the Free Exercise rights of a church when it excluded religious organizations from taking part in a program of grants for playground resurfacing. As Chief Justice Roberts summed things up near the end of his majority opinion for six justices, “the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution.”
Contradicting early predictions of a ruling sharply divided on ideological grounds, Justice Kagan joined the Chief’s opinion in full, and Justice Breyer wrote an opinion concurring in the judgment. Breyer “agree[s] with much of what the Court says” but (consistent with his general approach) is reluctant to sign on to any broad principle.
The Trinity Lutheran decision means that Senate Bill 8 is unconstitutional to the extent that it discriminates against religious schools. This means that the prohibition against placing students in religious schools cannot be followed. In other words, Senate Bill 8 must be interpreted to allow placements in religious schools.
You would think that Governor Sununu, who claims to support school choice, would have loudly welcomed the Trinity Lutheran decision, explained its implications for Senate Bill 8, and announced that the Department of Education would be issuing guidance to school districts to ignore Senate Bill 8’s prohibition against placements in religious schools.
Instead, crickets from the corner office.
In fairness, I haven’t heard anything from the Commissioner, Frank Edelblut, either.