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Florida Court Finds School Vouchers Unconstitutional

A Florida Circuit Court ruled yesterday that Florida’s voucher program violates its state constitution by allowing public money to go to parochial schools. Florida’s program, one of three in the nation that involves religious schools, was initiated by Gov. Jeb Bush and supported on the federal level by his brother, President George W. Bush.

Gov. Bush plans to appeal the decision, according to the Washington Post. The program will be allowed to continue indefinitely during the appeals process. This decision follows a June 27 US Supreme Court ruling, which held that Ohio’s school voucher program did not violate the First Amendment. However, Florida’s constitution is more explicit than the US Constitution in its prohibition of tax dollars going towards religious institutions, as are two-thirds of the state constitutions, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “The Florida court’s decision shows that the battle over vouchers is far from over,” said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, in the Washington Post.

Sources:

Washington Post 8/6/02; Americans United for Separation of Church and State press release 8/5/02

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