In South Carolina, a lawsuit filed this week seeks to obliterate the wall between church and state.
Like most such lawsuits, the federal lawsuit has been a advocacy group that specializes in such things-- you may remember the Liberty Justice Center as the folks who won the Janus case, which either was an attack on unions wrapped in the First Amendment.
As with most such cases, the advocacy group needed to find themselves some plaintiffs to attach the case to. What's striking this time is that the plaintiffs are not some group of regular citizens-- the lawsuit-- Bishop of Charleston v. Adams has been filed on behalf of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston, plus a group of independent colleges.
The federal suit follows the South Carolina Supreme Court's rejection of Governor Henry McMaster's attempt to use CARES pandemic relief funds for private schools.
That court found the desire to hand public funds to private schools unconstitutional. So the solution is obvious--sue to have the state's constitution rewritten.
The case has a target perfect for PR purposes--the Blaine Amendment. In 1875, President Grant proposed, and Congressman James G. Blaine officially launched, a move to add a constitutional amendment that public tax dollars could not be used to fund private, sectarian schools. It failed on the national level, but many states passed their own state-level version.
The Blaine Amendment is a hard thing to defend--most historians see it as anti-Catholic, so that many fans of getting public funding into private school hands, from Betsy DeVos to supporters of this new lawsuit, skip past any discussion of the wall between church and state and go straight to decrying this Blaine-related funding wall as bigotry that must be swept aside.Guglielmone said at a Wednesday press conference that the legal challenge is not only about expunging "the anti-Catholic sentiment" that still haunts the state, but to create a "more inclusive, uplifting future" for parents and children who seek out private education.