Release: Maine Policy, EdChoice submit amicus brief in Carson v. Makin



September 14, 2021
Contact: Jacob Posik
Director of Communications
Office: 207.321.2550

Maine Policy and EdChoice file amicus brief in Carson v. Makin
U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments in Maine-based case later this year 

PORTLAND, Maine – Maine Policy Institute CEO Matthew Gagnon issued the following statement today on the filing of an amicus brief in the Maine-based school choice case, Carson v. Makin, that will be heard later this year by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The high court has made clear in previous rulings that prohibiting parents from choosing religious options when providing families with school choice violates the U.S. Constitution’s Free Exercise and Equal Protection Clauses. It’s time to end religious discrimination in Maine’s town tuitioning program and instead offer children the option to attend a school where they have the best chance to learn, in an environment where they feel safe, comfortable and valued,” Gagnon said.

Families in Maine who want the option to use town tuitioning public education funding for a school that is the best fit for their children – regardless of whether it’s a religious or secular school – are receiving help from the EdChoice Legal Defense & Education Center. 

Maine Policy Institute and EdChoice, a national nonprofit organization that promotes state-based educational choice programs, filed an amicus brief at the U.S. Supreme Court on September 10 in support of the parents in the Carson v. Makin case. Leslie Hiner, counsel of record for the brief, revealed the discriminatory history and conflicting state rulings regarding religious liberty that have interfered with children’s access to an education they desire for over 170 years in Maine. 

In the brief, Hiner shares the powerful 19th century story of Father John Bapst, a Catholic priest who was tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail for opening a Catholic school after he helped Catholic students leave their public school, where they were scorned bitterly for refusing to deny their faith.

Father Bapst was a simple man who did good for others, helped children of faith to be included in education funding, and became the first president of Boston College. Sadly, in the 20th century, Catholic children, and children of other faiths, were once again denied access to funding for education unless they denied their faith. This continues today, into the 21st century.

Read the full brief here

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