Last night, the Center for American Liberty in conjunction with Eimer Stahl LLP and the Dhillon Law Group took the fight to #OpenCASchools to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by filing the Opening Brief in the landmark case, Brach v. Newsom.
This appeal comes after the district court denied Plaintiffs application for temporary restraining order on August 21, 2020 and after it granted sua sponte summary judgment in favor of the State on December 1, 2020.
As the Brief explains:
The district court’s decision cannot be squared with precedent from the Supreme Court and this Court signaling that the right to a basic minimum education is fundamental, or at least quasi-fundamental, and that deprivations of that right should be subjected to a heightened standard of review. Nor can the decision be reconciled with the Supreme Court’s longstanding precedent holding that parents have a due process right to send their children to private school without state interference.
School facilities across California have been closed since March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that both public and private schools would remain closed—allowing schools to reopen only if “they are located in a local health jurisdiction that has not been on the county monitoring list within the prior 14 days.”
The ramifications of the Governor’s decision to close schools continues to be severe. As explained in the today’s Brief:
Almost immediately after shuttering schools, the problems of remote education began to manifest, especially for poor, minority, and disabled students. A few weeks later, Los Angeles School District officials reported that 15,000 high school students were unaccounted for and more than 40,000 had not been in daily contact with their teachers.
These hardships fell even more harshly on minority, poor, and disabled students. Online participation for these students was often less than 10 percent.
The July 7 study by LAUSD found that “Black and Latino students showed participation rates between 10 and 20 percentage points lower than white and Asian peers.”
English learners, students with disabilities, homeless students and those in the foster-care system had lower rates of online participation.
Appellants-Plaintiffs’ have had similar experiences with online only education. Their own children have felt its effects—falling behind academically while suffering from anxiety and depression.
Governor Newsom’s decision to close public and private schools—depriving millions of students access to a basic education—violates constitutional guarantees of Due Process and Equal Protection. As such, the Appellants-Plaintiffs seek to overturn the Governor’s July 17th school closure order and in doing so return the decision of whether to open schools for in-person education to local school boards and municipalities.
“The liberal elites running California continue to create two sets of rules—one of Michelin starred dining and privilege that they enjoy and the other a massive shutdown that deprives children their right to an education, deprives the faith community the right to worship, and deprives small business owners their right to earn a living, said Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban), CEO of the Center for American Liberty. “That is why we are taking our lawsuit to reopen California schools to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to ensure that all children in California, regardless of their zip code, are afforded the same fundamental right to education.”