The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, through its Institute for Public Affairs, today criticized a ruling by a federal judge in Maine with regard to that state’s education subsidy policy.
In Maine, small towns that do not have their own public school system routinely cover the costs for residents’ children to attend public or private schools in neighboring communities. Parents who wish to send their children to private parochial schools have been barred from receiving these subsidies. This unequal policy was recently challenged in federal court and, just a few days ago, was ruled constitutional by Judge D. Brock Hornby.
Nathan Diament, director of the Institute for Public Affairs, issued the following statement in the wake of Judge Hornby’s decision:
The Orthodox Jewish community is deeply troubled by the court’s ruling in this case. In effect, Judge Hornby has held that the United States Constitution requires that a state discriminate against parents who wish to send their children to religious schools and not to afford them a subsidy that they provide all other parents. We believe this holding is clearly wrong for it is inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution, not to mention numerous decisions of the Supreme Court.
We therefore look forward to supporting the appeal of this decision to the Court of Appeals and toward the Supreme Court explicitly addressing the issue of school choice in the near future.