Locke v. Davey
|Locke v. Davey|
|Argued December 2, 2003|
Decided February 25, 2004
|Full case name||Gary Locke, Governor of Washington, et al., Petitioners v. Joshua Davey|
|Citations||540 U.S. 712 (more)|
|Prior history||On writ of cert. to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Davey v. Locke, 299 F.3d 748, 2002 U.S. App. LEXIS 14461 (9th Cir. Wash., 2002)|
|A Washington publicly funded scholarship program which excluded students pursuing a "degree in theology" does not violate the Free Exercise Clause.|
|Majority||Rehnquist, joined by Stevens, O'Connor, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer|
|Dissent||Scalia, joined by Thomas|
|U.S. Const. amend. I|
Locke v. Davey, 540 U.S. 712 (2004), is a United States Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of a Washington publicly funded scholarship program which excluded students pursuing a "degree in devotional theology." This case examined the "room.. between the two Religion Clauses", the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause.
Davey enrolled in Northwest College and received a Promise Scholarship. But when he declared a double major in pastoral ministries and business management/administration, his scholarship was revoked. Davey was given the opportunity to continue under the scholarship but without the pastoral ministries major, but he refused.
In 1999, the state of Washington legislature created a scholarship, the Promise Scholarship. The scholarships were for $1,125 per year and were funded through the State's general fund. They were available for qualified students who enrolled for "at least half time in an eligible postsecondary institution in the state of Washington", but excluded study in theology. This was because the Washington State Constitution's Blaine Amendment specifically states that "No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction".
The scholarship was available to any graduate of a Washington public or private high school. The student must be in the top 15%, receive a score of 1,200 or higher on the SAT, or score higher than a 27 on the American College Test. In addition, the student's family's income must be less than 135% of the median.
The statute was upheld. The Court held that there was nothing "inherently constitutionally suspect" in the denial of funding for vocational religious instruction. Even if there were, Washington had a "substantial state interest" in not funding "devotional degrees."