Lawsuit challenging ban on school aid switches courts

Associated Press

Lansing – A lawsuit challenging Michigan’s ban on public aid for private schools is moving to federal court.

The case was filed in state court in March by a Grand Rapids Catholic school, parents and some lawmakers. But it was withdrawn Tuesday after lawyers decided that federal court is a more appropriate venue. John Bursch says the lawsuit will be refiled.

The ban on public aid for private schools was added to the state Constitution in 1970. A judge earlier this year blocked Michigan from giving $2.5 million to private schools for fire drills, inspections and other state requirements.

But critics say the 1970 ban was deeply rooted in anti-Catholic sentiment. They say the prohibition violates the U.S. Constitution in a number of ways, including equal protection and free speech.