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The Theology Of The Blaine Amendments, Richard W. Garnett Jan 2004

The Theology Of The Blaine Amendments, Richard W. Garnett

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The Supreme Court affirmed, in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, that the Constitution permits us to experiment with school-choice programs and, in particular, with programs that include religious schools. However, the constitutions of nearly forty States contain provisions - generically called Blaine Amendments - that speak more directly and, in many cases, more restrictively, than does the First Amendment to the flow of once-public funds to religious schools. This Article is a series of reflections, prompted by the Blaine Amendments, on education, citizenship, political liberalism, and religious freedom.

First, the Article considers what might be called the federalism defense of the provisions. …