Education Constitutional Law

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Update on Illinois AG lawsuit using Dodd-Frank authority

As we previously reported, among the lawsuits that have been brought by a state attorney general and a state regulator using their Dodd-Frank enforcement authority is a lawsuit initially filed by the Illinois AG in state...more

When A Judge Declares A Statute Unconstitutional, What’s An Agency To Do?

In the recent California gubernatorial debate, Governor Jerry Brown defended his decision to appeal Judge Rolf M. True’s ruling in Vergara v. California, Cal. Super. Ct. Case No. BC484642 (June 10, 2014). The case has...more

Copyright Law Protects Course Syllabi From Disclosure Under Missouri Sunshine Law

Last month, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, held that a public university was not required to turn over copies of certain course materials, including course syllabi, in response to a public records request....more

The Woodward Case: Guidance to Trustees on Their Duties Under the Massachusetts Prudent Investor Act

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled that, with few exceptions, trustees have a duty to invest with inflation in mind. While not required to follow an investment advisor’s guidance, they can’t ignore the...more

The Expanding Ash Heap of History

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the historic United States Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The court overturned the precedent established in Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld that...more

Update: District Court Finds First Amendment Does Not Protect Former Guidance Counselor’s Sexually-Explicit Book

The Northern District Court of Illinois found that Rich Township High School District 227 did not violate the free speech rights of former guidance counselor and girls’ basketball coach Bryan Craig when it dismissed him based...more

When The Teacher Is The School Bully

Anti-bullying laws may now have a significant impact on what is considered to be “emotional abuse” in schools. Recently, the Connecticut Supreme Court concluded that a teacher’s bullying behavior toward a student met the...more

English Teacher’s Blog Post Ruled As Unprotected Speech

A Pennsylvania District Court dismissed teacher Natalie Munroe’s violation of free speech claim against the Central Bucks School District. Ms. Munroe accused the School District and some administrators for violating her free...more

Social Media Freedom of Expression Cases Pit the Public Against Public Officials

In perhaps the next battleground for government and education, citizens who comment on social media sites are facing off with local government officials public and school administrators who find their online expression...more

Fifth Circuit Upholds the Use of Race in Admissions at the University of Texas

For a second time, the Fifth Circuit dismissed Abigail Fisher’s claim against the University of Texas at Austin (the “University”), holding that the University’s admissions policy, including the use of race as a factor,...more

Not My Brother’s Keeper: Varley v. Regional School District No. 4 and A School District’s Responsibility For “Free Speech” Claims...

When entering into contacts with vendors, school districts hope that 1) the vendor will comply with the law, and 2) in any event, the vendor will be responsible for its own employment-related disputes. In Varley v. Regional...more

Redeveloping Redevelopment: Recent Legislation

THE RISE AND (UNINTENDED) FALL OF REDEVELOPMENT IN CALIFORNIA. The rise and fall of redevelopment agencies in California has been extensively written about, including in this publication. The history of redevelopment...more

University of Texas’s Use of Race In Student Admissions Survives Another Legal Hurdle

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decided this week that the University of Texas’s consideration of race as a factor among many factors for college and university admissions is legally permissible in Fisher v....more

Fifth Circuit Issues Important Ruling on Affirmative Action in Higher Education

Earlier this week, in Fisher v. University of Texas, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the undergraduate admissions program at the University of Texas at...more

Religious Institutions Update

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. that an existing contraceptive coverage mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act statute that applies to for-profit closely held corporations...more

Second Circuit Rules New York City’s Prohibition of Religious Services in School Facilities Constitutional

Recently, in Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York[1], the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (the “Second Circuit”), in a 2-1 decision, reversed the lower court’s decision and ruled that...more

Federal Government Bars Immigration Checks By Schools

The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice have recently issued new guidance – in the form of a “Dear Colleague” letter to school administrators nationwide – barring public schools from conducting immigration checks on...more

Federal Judge Upholds New York City Policy Barring Unvaccinated Students from Attending School During Periods of Disease Outbreak

On June 04, 2014, Judge William F. Kuntz II of the Eastern District of New York upheld a controversial New York City policy that prohibits unvaccinated children from attending school when a classmate becomes infected with a...more

Oxnard Union High School District to Acquire Nearby Church Property

The Oxnard Union High School District began Eminent Domain procedures to acquire property owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The property is required for construction of a right-turn lane for the new...more

U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision Raises Questions About Cell Phone Searches in Schools

The long-standing test for searching students at school requires that the search must be based on a “reasonable suspicion” that the student violated a school rule or law. A recent criminal decision from the United States...more

Supreme Court Asked If State Universities Are Exempt From Claims Under the False Claims Act

A professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to determine the standard for imposing liability on state universities (and their related entities, such as hospitals and...more

Supreme Court Deals Affirmative Action Another Blow, But Impact on Colleges and Universities Likely Limited

The U.S. Supreme Court continued its decade-long interest in the role of affirmative action in the higher education admissions process, and decided to uphold a state law banning the practice. In Schuette v. Coalition to...more

California Court Rules Teacher Tenure Statutes Unconstitutional

On June 10, 2014, the trial court judge in Vergara v. State of California issued a decision striking down as unconstitutional five provisions of the California Education Code regarding public school teacher tenure procedures....more

Supreme Court Declines to Review Case on Public School Graduations in Churches

The Supreme Court decided this week not to hear a recent case from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (which has jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin) regarding public school graduation ceremonies in churches....more

10 Tips for Creating an Effective Social Media Policy

A controversial tweet posted by a Kansas University professor last fall in response to the shootings at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. resulted in the Kansas Board of Regents’ adoption of a revised social media policy. The...more

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