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Saint Louis University Law Journal

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Florida's intermediate appellate court and Supreme Court recently struck down a state-wide school voucher program that allows children in failing public schools to use government monies to attend private schools of their parents' choosing. The intermediate appellate court based its reasoning on a state constitutional provision that prohibits aid to religious institutions, thus refusing to recognize the discriminatory nature of the provision or at least denying that it should apply to the voucher program. Rather than correcting the holding below, the Florida Supreme Court decided not to address the issue altogether and instead incorrectly interpreted an unrelated section of the state constitution to prohibit the vouchers. Because the Court focused exclusively on state law that did not implicate First Amendment questions, the case will not reach the United States Supreme Court. As a result, children in Florida as well as in any other states that adopt the same problematic legal understanding as Florida's courts may lose some of their educational opportunities.



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