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Money that could have been raised by tax not same as tax money

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

Another pertinent case to Bill Duncan et al. v The State of New Hampshire et al. & Network for Education Opportunity et al.( suit brought in Strafford County Superior Court against the Tax Credit Education Program, SB 372), is the 1925 U.S. Supreme court case of Pierce v Society of Sisters — in which Justice McReynolds, in striking down the Oregon law which would have required all of Oregon's children to attend public schools, writes that it, "unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control. As often heretofore pointed out, rights guaranteed by the Constitution may not be abridged by legislation which has no reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the state. The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations."

In conclusion, the ruling seems to rest on if the donations given for these scholarships are to be considered as tax money. Do they constitutionally need to be considered as tax money? I think the answer to that question is a clear "no", for the Amendment reads, "no money raised by taxation" in the past tense. It does not say no money that would have been raised by taxation. It seems then that the circumstance of the presentation of the Blaine Amendment to voters of N.H. back in 1876, and their understanding of the purpose of this amendment would require a literal rendering here for the spirit of our constitution to prevail, and the letter of it to be met. For we have in our Constitution
a document that instructs use to cherish religious instruction. The antagonism toward religion that buttresses Judge Lewis's view of the Blaine Amendment comes from outside of our Constitution. And his decision embodies a complete denial of the difference in the essence of public education then in 1876, and now, and a refusal to acknowledge that public education in its current state presents moral teaching that gives legitimate rise to issues of conscience, held as unassailable in our constitution. If we start here to stem the tide of constitutional abuses that we have seen over the past decades, who knows perhaps, we may avert, at some later date, our citizens from invoking Article 10 of our Constitution.
A somewhat detailed yet concise history of NH's Blaine Amendment is available to anyone who is interested at glenn-on-nh-blaine.pdf
Judge Lewis' ruling can be viewed at dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls

John Demakowski