Thursday, August 28, 2014

Speaker Candidate Rep. William O’Brien’s Statement on the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s Decision in Duncan v. State of New Hampshire
Contact: Rep. William O’Brien
Tel. (603) 620-8710 Email:

In 2012 the New Hampshire legislature overrode Democrat Gov. Lynch’s veto and passed the Opportunity Scholarship Act, a law intended to give the children from poor and medium income families the opportunity to get the same educational opportunities that the children of Gov. Lynch and so many of his well-heeled political and union boss friends enjoy. This pro-educational choice law allows businesses to give a very limited amount of their pretax dollars to private charities set up to give all but a small percentage of the funds they receive to educate children from families earning no more than 300% of the federal poverty line.

Ever since this law came into effect, vested educational industry interests, led by those who do not have to send their children to failing schools, have tried to reverse Gov. Lynch’s failed gubernatorial veto with a judicial veto. They forum-shopped for a favorable judge. They had that judge issue a decision limiting the law based on premise that would make any liberal smile: he said, in effect, that all your money first belongs to the government, so if government leaves some to you after taxes with the knowledge that you might spend it on a religious-based education, then government is supporting religion.

This trial court decision has now been subject to review in the New Hampshire Supreme Court and fortunately, it was reversed. The decision found the plaintiffs lack standing to be in court challenging this law. As a consequent, the Supreme Court overturned this clearly erroneous decision.

The Supreme Court today rejected the trial court’s decision that in effect would have told the NH Legislature to be hostile and not neutral toward religions. Our state constitution does not lay the foundation for such a radical and harmful government.

New Hampshire scholarship students will be able to attend the schools of their choice. They and their parents will decide and if their decisions are for religious schools or secular schools, it will be up to them and not up to vested education industry interests trying to corral all students into failed government schools.

Decades of union and liberal tinkering and reforms have tainted the splendor of what was a public education system that was the envy of the world. We must do better for our children. We must expand the education choices available to all families, even those not as rich as the present and past New Hampshire governors opposing educational choice and the lead plaintiff in the Duncan case. The journey to a better education for our children must and will continue.