Alabama Supreme Court Upholds School Choice Law

Published April 28, 2015

The Alabama Supreme Court (ASC) overturned a lower court’s ruling against the Alabama Accountability Act (AAA) school choice program.

In an 8–1 vote, ASC ruled in favor of preserving AAA, which has provisions for school vouchers and individual refundable tax credits.

AAA became law in 2013 and was immediately challenged in court by state Sen. Quinton Ross (D-Montgomery) and a school superintendent who claimed the school choice program appropriates public monies for private education. In March, ASC rejected those claims and upheld the constitutionality of the law.

“In layman’s terms, money goes to parents—not schools,” said ASC in its majority opinion. “That makes it constitutional.” 

“[ASC] should be praised for a very well-written and deeply considered decision,” said Leslie Hiner, vice president of programs and state relations for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

Katherine Robertson, vice president of the Alabama Policy Institute (API), a free-market think tank based in Birmingham, says her organization is satisfied with ASC’s decision.

“API filed an amicus brief in the case, so we are very pleased, yet not surprised, that the Alabama Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Alabama Accountability Act,” Robertson said. “The court wisely rebuffed the politically driven attempt to do away with a law that has delivered hope to so many Alabama families in the form of school choice. This decision should be of great encouragement, not only to the beneficiaries of the Act but [also] to the many individuals and businesses who have supported it through donations to scholarship programs.”

Bruce Edward Walker ([email protected]) is an information technology and telecommunications policy advisor for The Heartland Institute.

Image by bloomsberries.

Internet Info:

Julie P. Magee el al. v. Daniel Boyd et al., (Alabama Supreme Court, March, 2015)