The lawsuit was filed by lawyers for the Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). His long-time Vermont attorney, Thomas McCormick, who works with the ADF Attorney Network, serves as a local attorney on behalf of his family and Burlington Parish.
On Wednesday, the United States District Court for the District of Vermont issued a ruling that enforces the settlement agreement. Under the settlement, plaintiffs’ families whose tuition fees have been unfairly denied by the school district will be reimbursed for their out-of-pocket tuition fees, the ADF said. The school district will reimburse the plaintiff’s family directly. Other families have the opportunity to request reimbursement from the school district. Vermont and the school district will also pay the family’s legal fees, according to the ADF.
Vermont’s school choice program dates back to 1869. The state has excluded religious schools from the program since 1999 following a Supreme Court ruling that public funds may not be used to “support places of worship” under the Vermont Constitution . State he filed in 2020, more than 20 years later.
The settlement in this case comes in light of a landmark decision by the US Supreme Court in June. Carson vs Makin. In its decision, the court held that Maine’s policy prohibiting students in student assistance programs from using student aid to attend “denominational” schools violated the free exercise provision of the First Amendment. I made a 6-3 decision.
in that decisionChief Justice John Roberts said Maine chose to fund private schools through its aid program and therefore cannot disqualify some private schools simply because they are religious. The state “pays tuition for certain students in private schools — unless the school is religious. does not justify a statutory exclusion from the generally available public interest for
A recent Supreme Court case has yielded favorable results for school choice advocates. In the June 2020 decision, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the court found the state’s scholarship program, excluding religious schools, to violate the free exercise clause. And in 2017, the court ruled in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer that church-owned playgrounds may be subject to public benefit programs.