Ninth Circuit Remediation: U.S. Supreme Court to Rule on School Choice Again

Not that it’s a huge surprise, but we’ve learned the U.S. Supreme Court will agree to take a second look at the Ninth Circuit decision striking down Arizona’s 13-year-old individual scholarship tax credit program. The American Federation for Children reports this morning:

Supporters of school choice programs that provide children with educational opportunity will once again have their day in court—in front of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court decided today that it would hear an appeal to a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that declared an Arizona school choice program unconstitutional.

This marks the second time in U.S. history that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a school choice case, after its 2002 ruling in the Zelman v. Simmons-Harris case declaring school voucher programs constitutional.

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case provides school choice supporters with an opportunity to once again demonstrate the constitutionality of school choice programs, according to the American Federation for Children. Amicus briefs filed by eight states and a multitude of civic organizations have called for the Ninth Circuit’s decision to be overturned.

Last week columnist George Will made a convincing case of why the U.S. Supreme Court should overturn the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, which he calls “an impertinence” (I think that means the judges are way out of touch and haven’t paid attention to recent history or even major legal precedents).

The Cato Institute’s constitutional law scholar Ilya Shapiro offers similar arguments and notes that any other appeals court but the Ninth Circuit “would probably have decided it correctly.”

Clearly, this case is much more about the out-of-step San Francisco-based appeals court than it is about the legality or effectiveness of school choice programs. Maybe some judges need to go back to school? First, school choice. Then some remedial education on important legal issues.