Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Liberal State Court Renders Conservative Ruling

Several of our most conservative States have liberal state supreme courts. The Oklahoma Supreme Court, for example, ordered the removal of the Ten Commandments from the grounds of the state capitol. But even that liberal Supreme Court of Oklahoma felt compelled to render a conservative ruling when faced with a challenge to cut off funding for disabled students at religious schools, in Oliver v. Hofmeister. Oklahoma has, in its state constitution, what’s called a “Blaine Amendment” that prohibits the expenditure of taxpayer money on religious institutions, including schools. In 1875, the Speaker of the House James Blaine was not successful in adding this provision to the U.S. Constitution, but then 37 states added it to their state constitutions.

A group of taxpayers brought a lawsuit to cut off assistance to disabled students because they are attending religious schools. A trial court in Oklahoma agreed with the plaintiffs, and ordered this taxpayer assistance of disabled to stop. But this activist ruling was too much for the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which overruled the trial court and reinstated the assistance for disabled students at religious schools. The phony wall of separation of church and state came tumbling down for liberal Justices who had previously ordered removal of the Ten Commandments from the capitol. As explained by a Justice who concurred in the decision to allow this funding of disabled students, this is analogous to the State transferring prison inmates to a religious hospital for medical care, and paying for that care with taxpayer funds.

Now disabled students in Oklahoma who attend religious schools can pursue their education without worrying about an activist court cutting off their funding based on hostility to religion.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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