People For the American Way Foundation

Florida Supreme Court Removes Voucher Amendments from Ballot

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 3, 2008

Contact: Drew Courtney or Josh Glasstetter at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

Following oral argument this morning, the Florida Supreme Court this afternoon unanimously ordered that two proposed state constitutional amendments cannot appear on the November ballot. The amendments would have repealed the Florida Constitution’s prohibition on public aid to religious institutions and allowed public funds to be used to subsidize religious and other private education. Placed on the ballot by the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, the proposed constitutional amendments were intended to overturn the Court’s 2006 ruling that invalidated the state’s voucher law. The Court today ruled that the Commission overstepped its authority by placing the items on the ballot.

People For the American Way Foundation president Kathryn Kolbert issued the following statement.

“This is a very positive ruling for anyone who cares about the separation of church and state. The Florida Constitution protects religious liberty, and these proposed amendments would have seriously undermined that principle. The fact is that public money should be going to public schools, and today’s ruling ensures that it will. This was an underhanded attempt to force vouchers onto the ballot, and I applaud the state Supreme Court for standing up for the rule of law.”

Lawyers for the Florida Education Association and the National Education Association were lead counsel for the case. Lawyers with People For Foundation and several other organizations served as co-counsel.

# # #