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Supreme Court sets arguments in school voucher case

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The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments Nov. 21 over whether the state’s school voucher program is unconstitutional.

The plaintiffs – 12 Indiana residents including educators, clergy and parents of children in public and private schools – filed the lawsuit in July 2011 challenging the Choice Scholarship Program enacted last year. The program gives scholarships, commonly referred to as vouchers, to students whose families meet financial guidelines to attend public or private schools in other districts that charge transfer tuition.

Currently, the number of scholarships that can be awarded is capped, but next year, there will be no limits on the number that may be awarded. Once fully implemented, nearly 60 percent of all Indiana schoolchildren will be legally entitled to receive a scholarship upon application.

The plaintiffs claimed the law violates the General and Uniform System of Common Schools Clause of Article 8, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution as well as Article 1, sections 4 and 6 because students can use the state-funded vouchers to attend religious schools.

Marion Superior Judge Michael Keele denied their request for a preliminary injunction and in January granted summary judgment for defendants Gov. Mitch Daniels, Indiana Superintendent Dr. Tony Bennett and two defendant intervenors, Heather Coffy and Monica Poindexter. Coffy and Poindexter are parents who want to use the voucher program to pay for part of their children’s tuition at private schools.

Numerous educational groups and schools have joined in the suit, including the Indiana School Boards Association, Evansville Christian School, Marian University and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

 The justices announced the November oral argument on Wednesday. The case is Teresa Meredith, et al. v. Mitch Daniels, et al., 49S00-1203-PL-172.


 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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