November 1st, 2023 1 Minute Read Public Filings by Ilya Shapiro

Amicus Brief: Loffman v. California Department of Education

In California, public funding is available to educate children with disabilities in private schools that will best serve students’ individual needs. But because such schools must certify they are “nonsectarian,” state law prohibits families sending their kids to religious schools from accessing these otherwise generally available funds.

A group of parents filed suit, arguing, among other things, that the law violates the Free Exercise Clause by excluding religious institutions and individuals from a public benefit solely because they are religious. The district court disagreed, granting the state defendants’ motions to dismiss. Now on appeal before the Ninth Circuit, the Manhattan Institute has filed an amicus brief supporting the parents challenging the state law. We argue that California discriminates against students’ educational programs expressly and exclusively because of their religious affiliation and that no compelling interest justifies California’s sweeping, opportunity-crushing rule.

Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow and director of Constitutional Studies at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.

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