I, Plaintiff: A Chat with Joshua Davey

By Susanna Dokupil
October 01, 2004
The State of Washington’s Promise Scholarship program thrust Joshua Davey into the legal spotlight as a college freshman. Washington grants Promise Scholarships to students who meet certain achievement and income criteria and attend an accredited in-state institution, but it denies otherwise-qualified students this award if they declare a major in theology. Davey received the Promise Scholarship, but upon his matriculation to Northwest College, he discovered that he had to give up his award because he intended to double major in Business Management and Pastoral Ministries (a major in theology). Davey sued state officials to recover his scholarship on the basis that the State’s program violated his constitutional rights under the Free Exercise Clause, Establishment Clause, Free Speech Clause, and Equal Protection Clause. He claimed that the program discriminated against him on the basis of the religious perspective of his major. Unfortunately for Davey, the Supreme Court ruled against him last winter in Locke v. Davey, No. 02-1315 (February 24, 2004). Susanna Dokupil caught up with Joshua Davey in a telephone interview shortly after he completed his final exams as a first-year student at Harvard Law School....