One day before the start of the school year, a federal judge has issued an injunction blocking Cleveland’s four year-old voucher program, and virtually promising to kill it altogether.
Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. declared that since the vast majority of parents in the program are choosing religious schools, “the Cleveland program has the primary effect of advancing religion.” As such, he declared, there is “no substantial possibility” that he will ultimately allow the voucher program to continue.
His ruling not only promises massive disruption for almost 4,000 students participating in the voucher program; it also exposes the anti-religious bias inherent in his opposition to school choice.
Catholic League president William Donohue explained:
“The Cleveland program has the primary effect of advancing, not religion, but parental choice. Judge Oliver does not like the choices that parents are making; so in a shocking display of judicial arrogance, he is simply overruling their decisions about the education of their children.
“The judge makes clear that if parents were choosing non-sectarian, rather than religious, private schools, he would have no problem with the program. This smacks of an anti-religious bias that clearly compromises his ability to rule objectively on this issue.
“As an Air Force veteran, I benefited from the GI Bill, which allowed us to attend any college—public, non-sectarian private, or religious—with government assistance. Why should not parents—the primary educators of their children—have the same choice?
“The United States Supreme Court should recognize the anti-religious bias inherent in Judge Oliver’s ruling and overturn it on appeal.”