Meredith v. Daniels
Share this Case
Apparently it isn't enough that the teachers' unions want to deny a future to the children of Indiana, they also want to take us back to the bad old days when anti-Catholics ran the Indiana public schools. Kids who attend religious schools should be able to apply for state scholarships on the same terms as everyone else, not sent to the back of the bus.Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel/Becket
In 2011, Indiana enacted a school choice program called the Choice Scholarship Program. The law help families of lesser means send their children to private schools of their choice and avoid failing public schools. But teachers’ unions are fighting a furious rearguard action against it, using 19th Century anti-Catholic laws (called Blaine Amendments) to argue that the program violates the Indiana Constitution by providing “aid” to religious schools.
The plaintiffs lost in trial court and the Indiana Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
In April 2012, Becket filed an amicus brief in the Indiana Supreme Court arguing that Indiana’s constitution should not be interpreted to shut down the Choice Scholarship Program. The Blaine Amendments were adopted in a time of anti-Catholic agitation, just before the notoriously anti-Catholic Know-Nothing Party came to power in the Indiana Legislature. The amendment was therefore custom-designed to promote Protestant “common schools” and keep out Catholics, Jews, and others. Because of its bigoted origins, the Blaine Amendment is tainted law and cannot be used to shut down the Choice Scholarship Program. Becket filed the brief with co-counsel Kevin Koons of Kroger, Gardis & Regas in Indianapolis.
“Apparently it isn’t enough that the teachers’ unions want to deny a future to the children of Indiana, they also want to take us back to the bad old days when anti-Catholics ran the Indiana public schools,” says Becket Deputy General Counsel Eric Rassbach. “Kids who attend religious schools should be able to apply for state scholarships on the same terms as everyone else, not sent to the back of the bus. These discriminatory laws must be stopped. If they don’t end in Indiana, a terrible precedent will be set for the entire nation.”
Indiana’s Office of the Attorney General defended the state’s program.