Duncan v. Nevada

AU's Role: 
AU's Involvement Began: 
August 2015

In June 2015, the Nevada governor signed into law S.B. 302, which created the Education Savings Account Program. Through the program, parents may receive money from the state's public-school fund, which is deposited into an Education Savings Account, to pay for their child's education at a religious private school. Once the private school receives this funding, there are no prohibitions on how the public funds may be used, meaning that private schools are free to use these funds for religious instruction. 

In August 2015, we joined with the national ACLU and the ACLU of Nevada to file suit on behalf of several Nevada residents. Our lawsuit argues that the Program violates the Nevada Constitution, which bars any public funding from being "used for sectarian purpose[s]." 

Parents who wish to use the Program to send their children to private school intervened in the lawsuit, and both the parents and Nevada moved to dismiss the case. We filed a brief in opposition to their motion and also moved for a preliminary injunction, to bar the state from releasing the funds. The trial court held a hearing in December 2015

In May 2016, the trial court ruled in favor of the state, finding that the voucher program did not violate the Nevada Constitution because the Legislature passed S.B. 302 into order to promote education, rather than to promote religion or religious observance. 

We have appealed the trial court's decision to the Nevada Supreme Court. In July 2016, we filed our opening brief with the court. Oral argument is scheduled for July 29, 2016.