Montana Family Foundation petitions the U.S. Supreme Court in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue

Laurel, MT – Today, the Montana Family Foundation filed an amicus brief supporting a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S Supreme Court in the case of Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue.

“In 2015, Montana became the 46th state to adopt school choice.  Now after 4 years of non-stop litigation we’re asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate school choice so that every child in Montana can find their perfect educational fit,” says Jeff Laszloffy, Montana Family Foundation’s President and CEO.  “In our opinion, this is classic viewpoint discrimination and we hope the U.S. Supreme Court agrees.”

This case arises out of a 2015 law passed by the Montana Legislature that allowed tax credits for donations to scholarship granting organizations.  The Montana Department of Revenue promptly adopted a rule prohibiting religious schools from participating saying, that it would violate Montana’s Constitution.  Three plaintiffs, all Montana taxpayers whose children attend private religious schools, challenged the rule in district court under both the Montana and U.S. Constitutions. They won because, according to the district court, the rule was not required by Montana’s Constitution.

In December, the Montana Supreme Court rejected the decision of the district court and the will of Montana voters. “The Montana Supreme Court found a way to strike down the Tax Credit program: it interpreted the Montana Constitution beyond its written language and then used a conflict in federal law to say its interpretation satisfies the U.S. Constitution,” says Anita Y. Milanovich, Chief Legal Counsel for the Montana Family Foundation.  “Now, parents must choose to either forego their fundamental right to raise their children according to their own religious beliefs or be deprived of societal benefits and opportunities other families enjoy. The United States Supreme Court needs to address this important issue and resolve the legal conflict to protect the religious freedom of students and parents.”

Amicus Brief: Here