Carr Co-Leads 18 States in Urging U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Free Exercise Rights, Reverse Montana Decision Striking Down School Choice Program
Attorney General Chris Carr last Wednesday filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, urging the justices to overturn a Montana Supreme Court decision that required the state to exclude religious school options for parents participating in a state tax credit scholarship program.
“The ruling by the Montana Supreme Court discriminates against and punishes parents who choose to send their children to religious schools,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “If upheld, it has far-reaching consequences that could threaten school choice programs nationwide, depriving religious, low income and disabled children of a quality education of their choice. We encourage the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse this decision for the benefit of the families in Georgia and across the nation who rely on these programs.”
Montana’s program, enacted by its legislature in 2015, gave a tax credit to taxpayers who donated to a private scholarship organization. The organization then awarded scholarships to eligible children attending private schools. A number of states, including Georgia, have enacted similar school choice programs.
Attorney General Carr co-led the brief in partnership with Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. They were joined by 15 other state attorneys general and governors.
In the brief, the coalition contends that if the ruling is not reversed, it opens the door for other state courts to interpret laws surrounding similar scholarship programs in the same discriminatory way.
The Georgia Department of Law’s Solicitor General’s Unit provided legal expertise for this brief on behalf of the state of Georgia.