Posted on November 11, 1998 In Press Releases

Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – through its Institute for Public Affairs – welcomed the decision by the United States
Supreme Court to let stand a ruling by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin that Milwaukee’s school voucher program is constitutional.

The Supreme Court declined to review the case without comment, although Justice Stephen Breyer dissented from that decision, also without comment.

Under Milwaukee’s program, up to 15,000 students are receiving vouchers worth up to $5,000 (half the state’s per pupil expenditure in the city) and using the vouchers to attend the schools of their choice – whether, public, private or parochial. Preliminary studies have indicated that students participating in the voucher program have improved their reading and math skills.

Nathan Diament, director of the Institute for Public Affairs who authored a friend of the court brief to Wisconsin’s high court defending the program issued the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this morning:

Today, the Supreme Court has determined that a ruling by a state’s highest court that a school voucher program does not violate the Establishment Clause – a ruling that was issued in clear and unequivocal terms – shall stand as a definitive current statement of the law on this issue.

While we certainly would have preferred a more explicit statement on this important issue from our nation’s highest court, this decision should clearly be understood to refute those who assert that school choice programs are unquestionably unconstitutional. This is a significant victory for the school choice movement in the United States and for all those who seek better educational opportunities for our children.