Blaine's Name in Vain?: State Constitutions, School Choice, & Charitable Choice

54 Pages Posted: 6 May 2005

See all articles by Jill I. Goldenziel

Jill I. Goldenziel

National Defense University; University of Pennsylvania


In this article, Ms. Goldenziel explores the growing controversy over no-funding provisions, state constitutional provisions that restrict state funding of religious institutions. These provisions, allegedly rooted in anti-Catholic bigotry, may threaten state implementation of school choice programs and faith-based initiatives involving public funding of religious social service organizations. Ms. Goldenziel argues that these no-funding provisions, which are commonly termed Blaine Amendments, Little Blaines, or Baby Blaines, are often unrelated to the failed federal Blaine Amendment, and do not always share the federal amendment's infamous anti-Catholic history. In the first study of its type, Ms. Goldenziel surveys the language and history of constitutional provisions prohibiting funding of religious institutions in all fifty states, and details the constitutional history and judicial interpretation of these provisions in eight representative states: Ohio, Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, Michigan, Vermont, and Maine. Ms. Goldenziel concludes that the fates of school vouchers and faith-based initiatives will not rest on the so-called Blaine Amendments, but on the ideological and jurisprudential tendencies of state judiciaries. Debate over school choice and charitable choice should therefore move from courtrooms to the political arena.

Keywords: Religion, politics, Catholic, state constitution, school choice, voucher, charitable choice, faith-based, education, law

JEL Classification: H70, H71, H72, H79, I20, I28, I29, J70, J71, J78

Suggested Citation

Goldenziel, Jill I., Blaine's Name in Vain?: State Constitutions, School Choice, & Charitable Choice. Denver University Law Review, Vol. 83, No. 1, Fall 2005, Available at SSRN:

Jill I. Goldenziel (Contact Author)

National Defense University ( email )

300 5th Ave
Ft McNair
Washington, DC 20319
United States

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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