The Montana School Choice case ruled unlawful by the Montana Supreme Court has officially been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lead attorney for the Institute for Justice headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, Erica Smith, said the appeal was filed early Tuesday morning.

“The Montana Legislature passed this program in 2015, and it’s been helping lots of kids and families who are very poor or who have children with disabilities, however the Montana Supreme Court struck down the entire program because it allowed scholarships for families who are attending religious schools,” said Smith. “Now, no one can get scholarships, not kids going to religious schools or kids not going to religious schools.”

Smith said the Montana Supreme Court will issue a brief and then the justices will decide if they believe the issue is worthy to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“There’s a very good chance that they’ll take this up,” she said. “The Supreme Court has been interested in this issue for a very long time and I think they’ve just been waiting for the right type of case. Specifically, the issue is when you offer a student aid program that’s available to everybody, can the government then exclude religious options from that program? This is something that has divided the lower courts for almost 25 years, and it’s now time for the Supreme Court to get involved.”

Smith believes the addition of Justice Brent Kavanaugh will be helpful should the court agree to hear the case.

“Just last week, Justice Kavanaugh issued a statement stating that they were interested in this issue and Justice Alito joined that statement, so we think the time is right and the court is just eager for the right case to come along, and they’re waiting for the right vehicle,” she said.

Smith says they expect to hear one way or the other by mid to late June, and the court begins its next session in October.