FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Lansing, Mich.) — Michigan Catholic Conference released the following statement after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5–4 today in Espinoza v. Montana. The Court found unconstitutional that state’s policy to prohibit religious schools from equal access to a public education benefit. The full impact of the ruling on the State of Michigan and Article 8 Section 2 of the state constitution — Michigan’s “Blaine Amendment” — will require additional review and study.
“We’re pleased with the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court and believe it is an important step toward bringing an end to 50 years of systemic and state-recognized discrimination and injustice against Michigan’s non-public schools, students and families,” said Michigan Catholic Conference President and CEO Paul A. Long. “While the decision will require a full review for its impact in Michigan, it is clear that the Court has handed down a path forward toward educational freedom and opportunity for all.”
In 1970 the Michigan Constitution was amended to prohibit state aid to nonpublic schools and is considered among the most prohibitive “Blaine” amendments in the country. Such amendments are named after James G. Blaine, a former U.S. Senator from Maine, who sought a federal constitutional amendment in the late 19th Century to prohibit state aid to Catholic schools. Although Blaine was unsuccessful at the federal level, his legacy endured at the state level as 37 states, including Michigan, prohibit aid to religious schools.
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.
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