The full 1st District Court of Appeal in Florida struck down the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program on Friday-- a program that already has 730 children currently participating statewide. The program will be allowed to continue while this case moves to the Florida Supreme Court. From the Institute for Justice press release:
In an 8-5-1 ruling, Judge William Van Nortwick declared that Opportunity Scholarships violate the Florida Constitution’s Blaine Amendment by “aiding” religious schools that receive scholarships from participating students, even though Opportunity Scholarships aid parents and children, not schools. Judge Van Nortwick also wrote a nearly identical opinion in August striking down the program when a three-judge panel of the same court first heard the case.
But courts in other states with similar provisions, including Wisconsin and Arizona, have rejected that argument, ruling that neutral school choice programs aid parents and children, not schools. IJ also points out that several other publicly-funded scholarships in Florida have always let parents and students choose religious schoools if they so choose. This ruling also endangers 11 other scholarships and grants, IJ argues.