Earlier today, the Supreme Court of the United States announced its decision in Espinoza v. Department of Revenue, a case that originated with three courageous Stillwater parents in 2015. In a 5-4 decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court ruled that states may not discriminate against parents who wish to send their children to religious schools like Stillwater in the operation of school choice programs. The Court was clear that Montana’s school choice program violated our parents’ right to the free exercise of religion as protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The U.S. Secretary of Education, Mrs. Betsy DeVos, had this to say about the ruling:
Today’s decision is a historic victory for America’s students and all those who believe in fundamental fairness and freedom. Each and every student needs the freedom to find their education fit, and today the Highest Court in the Land has protected that right by ensuring that families can use taxpayer funds to choose schools that match their values and educational goals, including faith-based schools. . . . Too many students have been discriminated against based on their faith and have been forced to stay in schools that don’t match their values. This decision represents a turning point in the sad and static history of American education, and it will spark a new beginning of education that focuses first on students and their needs. I’m calling on all states to now seize the extraordinary opportunity to expand all education options at all schools to every single student in America.
Today marks what we hope will be a watershed moment in the history of education in America. This is a victory not just for our three courageous moms and their children–it’s a victory for parents across the United States who desire more and better options for the education of their children, including an excellent, Christian education.
I was blessed to be with Kendra Espinoza and Jeri Anderson and their daughters on January 22 when the case was heard. Prior to the hearing, we prayed together in the Supreme Court cafeteria that God would rule over the proceedings and the ensuing decision, using all of it to accomplish his good purpose and plan. I’m thankful for this answer to prayer and look forward to seeing school choice programs in Montana and elsewhere expand as a result.