Gideon's Blog

In direct contravention of my wife's explicit instructions, herewith I inaugurate my first blog. Long may it prosper.

For some reason, I think I have something to say to you. You think you have something to say to me? Email me at: gideonsblogger -at- yahoo -dot- com

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Monday, January 09, 2006
All sorts of people are furious at the Florida Supreme Court for striking down that state's voucher plan, but if the plan was struck down under a Blaine Amendment (as I believe it was) then it would seem, presumptively, to be a perfectly good originalist outcome. After all, the Blaine Amendments of the various state constitutions were passed precisely to prevent what Florida's voucher program does: give public money to parents to send their kids to sectarian schools.

Which raises the real question: can someone explain to me why Florida still has a Blaine Amendment? These things were passed as an anti-Catholic measure more than a century ago. Today, Evangelical Protestants and Catholics of all stripes are basically on the same side in favoring more educational choice and not having a problem with public money finding its way into the hands of private religious schools. Florida is a Republican state with a big Catholic population - indeed, the Democratic Party in Florida depends increasingly on Catholic Latino (non-Cuban) votes, along with black votes (and black voters are generally strongly pro-voucher and pro-religious schools). Why does Florida still have a Blaine Amendment to their state constitution? Why would the sky fall if that constitution were amended? There are plenty of blue states where I'd expect a fight to remove a Blaine Amendment to be dicey, but Florida? What am I not getting?