October 24, 2008

Spreading the wealth to voucher schools

While he makes clear he's not urging you to vote against the presidential candidate who would seek to destroy Western civilization as we know it, Marquette law professor Rick Esenberg has contributed a generally functional overview of some recent United States Supreme Court opinions to that redoubtable conservative "think tank," the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.
In the area of the religion clause[s] — the constitutional guarantee of the right to the free exercise of religion and the prohibition of government establishments of religion — the Court has moved toward a more permissive view of the inclusion of religion in programs and forums sponsored by the government. It has, for example, upheld the provision of vouchers for use in religious schools.
The upholding Prof. Esenberg refers to is found in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, where a majority of the Court held that the redirection of federal funds to private sectarian schools in Ohio was constitutional because the function of choosing each school resided with the funds' recipient rather than with the government directly.

In other words, the government gives you someone else's money, and if you personally decide to spend it on tuition at Dr. Dino's 6,000-Year-Old Earth Middle School and Creation Science Museum, then that decision is of no concern with respect to the First Amendment.

Conservatives adore this judicial outcome, untroubled as they need to be by the blindingly obvious "spreading the wealth around," a socialist mechanism which otherwise drives them to distraction. It's an instructive lesson in situational morality, if nothing else.

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