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INDIANAPOLIS – Today the Indiana Supreme Court decided a legal challenge to the constitutionality of Indiana’s choice scholarships law, finding the school vouchers law is constitutional. By a 5-0 decision in the case of Meredith et al v. Pence et al, the Supreme Court affirmed a lower court and ruled that House Enrolled Act 1003 of 2011 (Public Law 92) does not violate the Indiana Constitution.
As lawyer for state government, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s Office defended the choice scholarships statute from the plaintiffs’ legal challenge. Zoeller today issued this statement:
“The Indiana Supreme Court found that the Legislature, in creating a voluntary program to broaden educational alternatives for Hoosier children, followed the Indiana Constitution by leaving the decision whether and where to use a scholarship to qualifying students and their families. My office defended the statute that the people’s elected representatives in the Legislature passed; and now that the question is decided, families can make informed decisions about using vouchers,” Zoeller said.
In its 21-page unanimous decision authored by Chief Justice Brent Dickson, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled: “We hold that the Indiana school voucher program, the Choice Scholarship Program, is within the legislature’s power under Article 8, Section 1, and that the enacted program does not violate either Section 4 or Section 6 of Article 1 of the Indiana Constitution. We affirm the grant of summary judgment to the defendants.”
The Indiana Supreme Court heard the appeal directly, bypassing the Indiana Court of Appeals, after Marion County Superior Court Judge Michael Keele on January 13, 2012, ruled in favor of the State and found the statute constitutional, and the plaintiffs appealed. Indiana Solicitor General Thomas M. Fisher argued the State’s in the Indiana Supreme Court on November 21, and the Supreme Court has had the decision under advisement until ruling unanimously today in favor of the State.
NOTE: The Indiana Supreme Court’s decision today in Meredith et al v. Pence et al is attached.