(Attorney General’s Office Press Release, November 7, 2023)
Boise, ID – Attorney General Labrador led a coalition of 22 states challenging California’s discrimination against religious observers in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Attorney General Labrador filed a brief last week urging the Ninth Circuit to overturn a confusing and erroneous California federal district court decision that upheld a California law that makes public funding available for private schools, but only for “nonsectarian” schools.
The California law’s “nonsectarian” requirement prohibits parents from receiving any of the funds if their children attend a religious private school. Such blatant discrimination plainly violates the First Amendment. But it also flouts three recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have repeatedly held that government cannot condition generally available public funding on religious status.
“The law is clear: regardless of how a government defines it, generally available funding cannot be withheld solely on the basis of religious affiliation,” Labrador said. “The Supreme Court has gone to great lengths to stamp out that type of religious discrimination. We will always defend the First Amendment rights of citizens.”
Attorneys General from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia joined the brief led by Idaho.
The full brief can be read here.