Case

Bishop of Charleston v. Adams

Students and schools should not suffer the loss of relief funds because of outdated language. Educational equity is essential to the American way.

Religion or race shouldn’t impact eligibility for federal COVID relief funds nor should they limit students’ access to quality education, yet in South Carolina several groups are invoking a highly discriminatory law in order to deny non-public students and schools access to federal COVID relief funds.

South Carolina’s long-standing Blaine Amendment has a dark past. The provision was added to the state’s 1895 constitution in order to suppress the education of newly freed slaves and to enable discrimination against Catholic immigrants. Over the years it has been used to deny government funding to independent and religious schools, schools that serve a high percentage of Black and Catholic students.

Even now in 2021, the South Carolina Education Association and its allies are citing the Blaine Amendment as a reason to deny these students and schools access to federal COVID relief funds.

Bishop of Charleston v. Adams seeks to end more than a century of discrimination against African Americans and Catholics in South Carolina.

The Bishop of Charleston, a Corporation Sole, dba Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston which oversees 33 K-12 schools in South Carolina, and the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU), a nonprofit organization whose membership includes five Historically Black Colleges and Universities, have filed a lawsuit to prevent state officials from using the Blaine Amendment to block COVID funds from going to non-public schools.

“This lawsuit seeks educational equality for all,” said Dr. Jeff Perez, president and CEO of SCICU. “Our students are committed to completing their degrees in a significantly challenging time. We should be doing all we can to support them, not relying on outdated, divisive language evoking a dark period in our history to deny those seeking educational opportunity.”

Attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center are representing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston and the SCICU. “This lawsuit seeks to achieve something that every American can stand behind: We’re fighting to strike down a century-old law that was enacted with the purpose of discriminating against our fellow citizens,” said Daniel Suhr, senior attorney for the Liberty Justice Center. “It is time for us to stand up and eradicate this bigotry so it cannot be used to deny educational resources to South Carolina students.”

Attorneys

Jacob Huebert

Jacob Huebert

Jacob Huebert serves as the president of the Liberty Justice Center. He previously served as the Liberty Justice Center’s Director of Litigation. In that role, he successfully litigated cases to protect economic liberty, free speech and other constitutional rights. Jacob and his work have appeared in numerous national media outlets, including the Wall Street JournalNew York Times and Fox News Channel.

Case Press Releases

Case In The News

September 20, 2021
If you didn’t know better, you might think that racism and anti-Catholicism are alive and well among several groups purportedly dedicated to rooting out just that sort of prejudice. The black civil rights group and its Catholic school legal team were forced to make an awkward argument to fight school...
August 2, 2021
A federal lawsuit in South Carolina is taking direct aim at one of the state’s uglier legacies: the Blaine Amendment embedded in its state constitution....
May 13, 2021
A recently filed lawsuit could make South Carolina the second state in the nation to be forced to stop using vestiges of 19th century bigotry, in the form of the Blaine Amendments, to block 21st century education reform....
May 3, 2021
Private schools suing the state for access to millions of dollars in public funds urged a federal judge to help South Carolina move beyond the “mistakes of its past” by forcing the distribution of the money to dozens of independent schools....
May 3, 2021
Attorneys representing two private schools groups have asked a federal judge to temporarily prevent South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster from spending his discretionary coronavirus aid money while a lawsuit attempts to repeal a section of the state's Constitution....
May 3, 2021
Private schools and colleges asked a federal judge Monday to strike down the provision in South Carolina's constitution that bars public money for private and religious schools, saying the 1895 measure is discriminatory....
April 30, 2021
Attorneys representing two private schools groups have asked a federal judge to temporarily prevent South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster from spending his discretionary coronavirus aid money while a lawsuit attempts to repeal a section of the state's Constitution....
April 28, 2021
A group of Christian schools in South Carolina submitted a friend of the court brief in support of a recent federal lawsuit that calls for a revision of the state’s constitutional ban on public funds for private schools....
April 27, 2021
On Monday, the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in Bishop of Charleston v. Adams....
April 16, 2021
South Carolina private colleges are challenging a state constitutional amendment prohibiting public funding for religious or other private educational institutions....

ABOUT

NAME

Bishop of Charleston v. Adams

FILED

April 14, 2021

COURT

U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Charleston Division

STATUS

Closed

Media

To schedule an interview about this case, please contact us.