Alex Blaze

Kentucky Supreme Court ends state scholarship for Baptist school

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 23, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Baptist Church, Kentucky, kentucky fairness alliance, pharmacy, school, student

Our side won:

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that a Baptist university can't keep $11 million awarded to it by Blue Grass State lawmakers nearly four years ago.

The money, $10-million for a pharmacy school and $1-million more for pharmacy scholarships, was appropriated by the legislature in 2006 to establish a pharmacy program at Cumberlands. But the appropriation violated state laws that ban public financing of "any church, sectarian, or denominational school," according to the ruling by Justice Lisabeth H. Abramson.

The gay-rights advocacy group Kentucky Fairness Alliance originally brought the case in 2006, after the University of the Cumberlands expelled Jason Johnson, a gay student, for posting comments about his sexual orientation and dating life on his MySpace page.

Everyone knows that constitutions only protect the rights of Christian, straight, white, rightwing, male natural-born citizens. That's the "literal" interpretation of such documents. Everything else is judicial activism. So obviously the judges here were just ignoring the constitution (what constitution?)....

Justice Abramson, writing for the majority, said the appropriations violated two sections of the state constitution.

"If Kentucky needs to expand the opportunities for pharmacy school education within the commonwealth, the Kentucky General Assembly may most certainly address that pressing public need, but not by appropriating public funds to an educational institution that is religiously affiliated," Abramson wrote.

Abramson also said the scholarship program "is precisely the type of special privilege and favoritism" that Kentucky's constitution condemns.

Good for them. The decision didn't mention the fact that a gay student was expelled from this school because it didn't even need to, which makes it an even bigger win. There's no reason pharmacists can't be trained at state universities in Kentucky.

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Bravo for the court.

Here's hoping the state sees a dime of it coming back. I'm kinda guessing this will get quietly swept under a rug somewhere.

A. J. Lopp | April 24, 2010 1:40 PM

Swept under rug? Then Kentucky Fairness would need to go back to court to get in enforced (if they think it's worth the expense, distraction, and effort).

So far, this story has been covered by the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Frankfort Tribune. Suspiciously, I haven't heard a peep about this ruling via any of the Louisville TV news operations. Of course, next weekend is the Kentucky Derby, and the newspeople are pre-occupied with all the cash-generating partying that's going on.

It's not likely to be appealed to the SCOTUS, because the ruling is based on a state constitution, not the federal one. Cumberland would have to come up with an appeal argument that involves a federal question, and that looks really, really difficult for a case ruling like this one.

Now...can we remove the IRS exemption from the PAC churches?