A divided state Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Republican-backed program that spends taxpayer money on tuition for students at private and religious schools.
The 4-3 decision issued Thursday split North Carolina's highest court along party lines, reversing a lower court ruling declaring the state's Opportunity Scholarships unconstitutional.
Chief Justice Mark Martin wrote in the majority opinion that taxpayers who challenged the program failed to show they suffered harm, adding it's not the court's responsibility to determine whether such tuition vouchers are a good idea, just whether they are legal. The court's other Republican justices joined Martin in the decision.
In a pair of dissents, the court's three Democrats said the scholarships violated a constitutional provision that public funds can be spent only for public purposes.