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Court of Appeals: Religious groups cannot join state in lawsuit

Flickr User dcJohn

Parents of private school students cannot be part of a lawsuit over whether the state can send taxpayer money to their kids’ schools.

The state wants to give religious schools money to cover things the state requires. Several public school organizations sued to stop the payments. They say the state constitution prohibits public money going to private schools.

Several religious organizations, lawmakers and parents tried to join the lawsuit with the state. But the court said no.

Dan Korobkin is an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. He says letting the other people join the lawsuit would bog the case down with other issues.

He says the court made sure the case won’t get mucked up with other issues.

“We’re going to limit this to what it was brought as when the case was first filed.”

“It’s not like the state was failing to defend the appropriation.”

Attorney John Bursch says his clients might file a separate lawsuit instead.

“The fact that the court would allow the litigation to go forward without anybody being able to argue for religious liberty is preposterous. And that’s why the interveners want to participate.”

The state budget plan calls for up to two and a half million dollars in reimbursements. There are about 650 private schools in Michigan.