PROMO 64J1 Government - Building Supreme Court of the United State Justice Law - wikimedia - public domain

Supreme Court decision may foreshadow Oklahoma case

Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, D.C.
Kim Jarrett

(The Center Square) - The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear a case challenging the policies of a North Carolina charter school is "promising for all Oklahomans who are troubled by the possibility of state-funded religious charter schools," Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond said this week.

Earlier this month, the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board approved an application for St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School with the backing of State Superintendent of Instruction Ryan Walters.

Drummond said the approval was unconstitutional and "not in the best interest of taxpayers."

Monday's ruling in Charter Day School, Inc. v. Peltier confirms that charter schools are "state actors," Drummond said.

"While the Court's action may be taken as a favorable development in the effort to maintain secular public schools, I expect much litigation on this issue in the months to come," Drummond said in a statement. "I will continue fighting to protect the Constitution and preserve religious liberty, just as my oath requires."

The appeal in the Charter Day Schools case came after North Carolina's 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that CDS could not enforce a dress code at the Roger Bacon Academy requiring females to wear skirts or dresses. A lower court had sided with parents who said the rule violated the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause.

At the center of the case is whether or not charter schools are "state actors."

Charter Day Schools argued it was not, but the appeals court agreed with the lower court ruling and said because the charter schools received taxpayer money and provided free education to students, it was a "state actor."

"By implementing the skirts requirement based on blatant gender stereotypes about the "proper place" for girls and women in society, CDS has acted in clear violation of the Equal Protection Clause," Senior Circuit Judge Barbara Milano Keenan wrote in the majority opinion.

Drummond, a Republican, did not join ten other Republican attorneys general in an amicus brief filed supporting Charter Day Schools.

Legal action in the case of Oklahoma's religious charter school is likely. Americans United for Separation of Church and State said earlier this month it is planning to sue.