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Event Education Pre K-12

What's Next for Religious School Choice?

Thursday July 2022


Nicole Stelle Garnett Senior Fellow @nsgarnett
Michael A. Helfand Brenden Mann Foundation Chair in Law and Religion, Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law
Andy Smarick Senior Fellow @smarick

On June 21, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down an important win for advocates of school choice in Carson v. Makin. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for a conservative-leaning 6–3 majority, held that Maine violated the Free Exercise Clause by excluding religious education from its public tuition assistance program.

At minimum, this case presents an incremental win for educational pluralism, following a series of decisions expanding access public funding for religious instruction (notably Zelman, Trinity Lutheran, and Espinoza). But importantly, Carson invites new questions for religious educators, the court, and state governments.

What are the implications of this decision for private-school choice? What legal questions remain to be answered by the courts about school choice programs? And what are the implications for religious institutions beyond private schools?

On Thursday, July 7 at 1:00pm ET, the Manhattan Institute will host a virtual panel to forecast the impacts of this case on religious schools and the future of educational pluralism. The panel will feature Manhattan Institute senior fellow and University of Notre Dame law professor Nicole Stelle Garnett, Pepperdine Caruso School of Law professor and vice dean Michael Helfand, and Manhattan Institute senior fellow Andy Smarick.