With Barrett Poised to Join Conservative SCOTUS Majority, Lower Courts Weigh Granting More Students Access to Private and Religious Schools
October 1, 2020
The South Carolina Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on whether Republican Gov. Henry McMaster can use $32 million in federal pandemic relief funds for a voucher program to finance private school tuition for roughly 5,000 students.
The case is one of several at the state and district court levels testing the boundaries of using public funds to educate students in private schools. Recent lawsuits seek to follow a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue earlier this year that weakened states’ ability to hinder the flow of public dollars to religious schools. The push also comes as the Senate prepares to consider whether to add Amy Coney Barrett to a high court supermajority expected to further ease restrictions on private and religious schools.
In South Carolina, retired educator Thomasena Adams, of Orangeburg, sued the governor in July after he announced his Safe Access to Flexible Education program. Palmetto Promise Institute, a nonprofit that planned to work with the governor on the voucher program, is also named in the suit.