NMANS makes national news
This month in the CAPE (Council for American Private Education) newsletter the New Mexico textbook case is featured as the lead story. Many non-public schools and private school association nationwide are carefully watching the outcome of this significant religious liberty court case.
Overview of the case to date
- Background – For many years New Mexico has allowed both public and private school students access to the state textbook loan program.
- 2014 – Based upon the complaint of two people, the case is taken to Appellate Court for review. The court denies the motion (two separate occasions) and textbook program is left intact.
- November, 2015 – State Supreme Court rules in a 5-0 decision to overturn the Appellate Court decisions in Moses v. Skandera.
- Becket Fund for Religious Liberty partners with NMANS to lead efforts to overturn.
- December, 2015 – State Supreme Court decision is appealed, although the court did not change their position they did re-write their opinion in the event the case was later challenged in a higher court.
- June, 2017 – SCOTUS overturns a religious liberties case (Trinity Lutheran Church – MO), in doing so remands several similar state level cases (NM, CO and OK) for rehearing,
- November, 2017 – Brief is filed by Becket Fund to State Supreme Court in preparation for rehearing of the case.
Cases such as ours are based in large part upon an attempt in 1876 by Senator James Blaine (ME) for a federal constitutional amendment which targeted funding for Catholic schools. While this effort failed, many states adopted similar measures, in total 37 states currently have “mini-Blaine” amendments in their state constitution – including New Mexico. (An interesting note – 4 states (NJ, VT, VA, CT) who do not have Blaine amendments were in the ‘Top 10’ nationally in test scores for 2016-17 with 3 others ranked in the ‘Top 20’. New Mexico is ranked last at #50.)