Bench Memos

A Great Win for Religious Liberty

Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in an opinion written by Judge (and famed law-and-religion scholar) Michael McConnell, issued its opinion in a case called Colorado Christian University v. Weaver. (Click here for more). In a nutshell, the decision and opinion are fantastic. The court held that the Constitution does not permit Colorado to discriminate against “pervasively sectarian” religiously-affiliated schools by excluding otherwise-eligible students who attend such schools from state scholarship programs. Along the way, the court read very narrowly the Supreme Court’s decision, a few years ago, in Locke v. Davey, which some have interpreted to allow governments to exclude religious schools from education-reform and – funding programs. That decision, Judge McConnell wrote, “does not extend to the wholesale exclusion of religious institutions and their students from otherwise neutral and generally available public support.”

There’s a lot going on in the case, but the bottom line is: Excellent. I encourage everyone interested in education reform, church-state matters, and religious freedom generally to check it out.

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