Supreme Court Majority in Espinoza Offers Four Different Perspectives on Religious Freedom

Supreme Court Majority in Espinoza Offers Four Different Perspectives on Religious Freedom


The U.S. Supreme Court determined in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue on Tuesday that restricting public scholarships from being used to pay religious school tuition was a violation of the First Amendment freedom of religion.

Curiously, four of the five justices in the majority — all of them Republican appointees — authored their own opinions.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who had sided with the Court’s liberal minority on social issues in every decision handed down thus far this month, wrote the main opinion for the majority. He noted that the Montana constitution included a “no-aid” provision “which prohibits any aid to a school controlled by a “church, sect, or denomination.” The Montana Supreme Court invalidated the entire scholarship program because it did not have a way to prevent funds from being used at religious schools.

Roberts said that the program did not violate the First Amendment: “We have repeatedly held

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