Big Court Win For Private School Students And Parents
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on Friday that California Gov. Gavin Newsom's COVID-19 restriction barring private schools from in-person classes is
unconstitutional, reported Natalia Mittelstadt of Just the News.
The lawsuit, Brach vs. Newsom, challenged the state’s rules preventing K-12 schools from offering in-person instruction in counties with high coronavirus case rates. The plaintiff families argued that the rules deprived their children of a meaningful education and violated their due process rights and equal protections under the 14th Amendment, reported Kristen Taketa for the LA Times.
While K-12 schools had to remain closed in counties with high coronavirus case rates, other educational facilities could remain open, including child-care programs and K-12 schools in low-COVID counties. The plaintiffs argued that the state’s rules were therefore arbitrary and treated people unequally.
The Center for American Liberty, led by conservative tiger attorney Harmeet Dhillon, on behalf of 20 plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in July 2020 challenging Newsom's closing of all in-person classes for schools. "Several of those plaintiffs said Newsom overstepped his authority and acted illegally by denying parents control over their children's education," the Epoch Times reported.
"California's forced closure of their private schools implicates a right that has long been considered fundamental under the applicable caselaw—the right of parents to control their children's education and to choose their children's educational forum," Judge Daniel Collins ruled on Friday.
According to a partial transcript of the ruling posted by Breitbart's Joel B. Pollak, Judge Daniel P. Collins wrote:
Both the Supreme Court and this court have repeatedly declined to recognize a federal constitutional right to have the State affirmatively provide an education in any particular manner, and Plaintiffs have not made a sufficient showing that we can or should recognize such a right in this case.
We reach a different conclusion, however, as to the State’s interference in the in-person provision of private education to the children of five of the Plaintiffs in this case. California’s forced closure of their private schools implicates a right that has long been considered fundamental under the applicable caselaw—the right of parents to control their children’s education and to choose their children’s educational forum. Because California’s ban on in-person schooling abridges a fundamental liberty of these five Plaintiffs that is protected by the Due Process Clause, that prohibition can be upheld only if it withstands strict scrutiny. Given the State closure order’s lack of narrow tailoring, we cannot say that, as a matter of law, it survives such scrutiny.
At a time when parental rights are under constant attack, especially in big Democrat states, such as California, this is a huge win for parents and students.
Ms. Dhillon said in a statement, “The Ninth Circuit rightly ruled in parents’ favor, affirming that they — and not Gavin Newsom or faceless bureaucrats — have the right to decide how best to educate their children.” Ms. Dhillon further noted, "While we are thrilled for our clients whose rights are vindicated by today's decision, we are disappointed the Ninth Circuit did not rule that all students, including those in public school, have a basic right to an education. We will continue to advocate for the educational rights of all students."
in person education
Branch vs. Newsom
due process rights