NM Supreme Court Textbook Decision Senseless

As reported in today’s Albuquerque Journal, the New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that children in private schools should not be allowed to receive textbooks paid for by taxpayers.

Now, we at the Rio Grande Foundation believe that the number of things government should pay for to be quite limited, but it is hard to see how a family’s decision to send their child to a private school should force them to give up any claim to the tax dollars they have forked over to the state to pay for education. It’s not like tax dollars are being used to pay for religious textbooks or something not taught in the traditional schools. Rather, these dollars are benefiting New Mexico children — children of taxpayers — just the same.

The US Supreme Court has already ruled on this issue, approving the use of tax dollars for non-religious materials provided to religious schools in Mitchell v. Helms.

That decision said in part that since the loans were suitable for both religious and public schools, the government was not serving to advance religion.

Accordingly, the government may now provide aid to religious groups as long as such aid advances some legitimate non-religious purpose and is granted in the same manner to non-religious groups.

Not sure what the next steps are but one wonders if this decision shouldn’t be appealed to the Nation’s highest Court. The good news is that our liberal New Mexico Supreme Court has a bit more balance with the addition of its newest justice.