Over the past two decades, many scholars have taken a fresh look at state constitutional provisions that derive from the federal Blaine amendment that was proposed in 1875. The New Mexico Supreme Court was tasked with analyzing New Mexico’s version of the Blaine amendment as it applied to the state’s Instructional Material Law in Moses v. Ruszkowksi. The case took a long journey through the New Mexico judiciary and was appealed to the United States Supreme Court. On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the New Mexico Supreme Court concluded that New Mexico’s derivative of the Blaine amendment, Article XII, Section 3, of the New Mexico Constitution, was adopted with discriminatory intent based on the history of the federal Blaine amendment. This Note will argue that New Mexico courts should be more deferential to the state’s history than to national history when they interpret the New Mexico Constitution. Giving deference to the state’s history and the intentions behind the New Mexico Constitution aligns with the ideals of federalism that the United States Constitution emphasizes. This Note will then argue that, given the deference owed to New Mexico’s history and the intentions of the drafters of the New Mexico constitution, Article XII, Section 3, was not adopted with discriminatory intent. Following the actual intent of the drafters to avoid any entanglement with private schools, the provisions of the Instructional Material Law that allow books to be loaned to private school students is unconstitutional under Article XII, Section 3, of the New Mexico Constitution.
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Honoring the New Mexico Constitution and Its History: New Mexico’s Unique Blaine Amendment and Its Application in Moses v. Ruszkowski,
N.M. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/nmlr/vol51/iss1/9