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ERIC Number: EJ820189
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Dec
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0953-9964
"Bush v. Holmes": School Vouchers, Religious Freedom, and State Constitutions
Garnett, Richard W.; Pearsall, Christopher S.
Education and the Law, v17 n4 p173-183 Dec 2005
In "Zelman v. Simmons-Harris," the Supreme Court of the US made it clear that governments do not unconstitutionally "establish" religion merely by permitting eligible students to use publicly funded scholarships to attend qualifying religious schools, so long as the students' parents are able to make a "true private choice" for the school their children attend. However, the "Zelman" decision left unanswered and unresolved many questions and problems. For example, although the Justices determined that, all things considered, the "particular" program under review satisfied the First Amendment's requirements, they did not--and, indeed, could not--say anything definitive about the constitutional fate of other, differently structured, school-choice experiments. Legislators in Florida followed "Zelman's" guidelines when, in 1999, they designed and enacted that state's Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP). They were careful when they identified eligible schools and students without reference to religion and they offered a diverse array of benefits--including vouchers--to a broad group of students. Although the Florida program differed in several respects from the Ohio experiment that was considered in "Zelman," it is fairly clear that the OSP did not run afoul of the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Accordingly, after their defeat in the legislature, the usual cadre of school-choice opponents elected to attack the program in the courts of Florida, using that State's constitution. In this article, the authors trace the events that transpired during the proceedings of the "Bush v. Holmes" case and offer their insights about it. Through the "Bush v. Holmes", the Florida Supreme Court had invalidated the OSP. Here, the authors contends how school choice supporters and opponents can draw lessons from this particular case when they make their next moves. (Contains 47 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida; Ohio
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: First Amendment; United States Constitution