Fate of Oklahoma scholarship program could rest with U.S. Supreme Court

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments about public funding of religious schools, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter is urging justices to protect tax-credit scholarship programs such as one used in Oklahoma for private schools.

Providing tax credits is not the same thing as direct state aid, Hunter said in written arguments to the high court, “so (state constitutional) Amendments that prohibit only the use of the State’s money to aid religious institutions need not be interpreted to prohibit tax-credit scholarship programs.”

The Supreme Court on Wednesday is scheduled to hear oral arguments from attorneys on both sides of a case from Montana, where the state Supreme Court ruled against a state scholarship program that granted tax credits to people who donated to a scholarship program. The scholarships could be used by students at private schools, including religious ones.

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