Law Essay On Precedent

The government’s authority to forcibly assimilate Native American children was indirectly established in Lone Wolf v.Hitchcock (1903), in which the Court ruled that “Indian tribes are the wards of the nation” whose “weakness and helplessness” creates a “duty of protection, and with it the power.” In Lum v.It strains political credulity to imagine that American taxpayers would be willing to double or triple spending yet again, or to imagine that bureaucrats will suddenly deploy resources selflessly when they have failed to do so for decades.

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The question is whether the current Supreme Court will build upon such foundations to defend the interests of disadvantaged students.

Advocates for low-income families might expect little help from a Court often described as politically conservative.

Pro-student lawsuits have won surprising victories; for example, nine California students recently won a trial court ruling that public schools unconstitutionally denied them a decent education by assigning them ineffective teachers.

After nearly 150 years of anti-student rulings, students have a real shot at legal relief that will not merely defend a few individuals, but improve equity, access and choice to the entire public education system.

Although the Supreme Court affirmed the state’s interest in using education law to “foster a homogeneous people,” the unanimous ruling also decreed that “the child is not the mere creature of the state.” Thus, the Court held that Oregon’s law violated the constitutional rights of parents, students, and private schools.

For parents who could not afford private schools, however, the courts offered little help. Ferguson (1896) approvingly cited Massachusetts in holding that political majorities had a legitimate interest in keeping races separate.This pessimism misunderstands the way the Court works.For one thing, doctrinal changes often confound “liberal” or “conservative” labels.Traditional liberals, especially those whose research funding depends upon public sector unions, argue that Brown failed because of insufficient public funding.Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute, for example, wrote a report titled “Brown v. ”, a question he answers with the claim that America did not spend enough money.Rothstein’s line of thinking, while popular, suffers from deep flaws.For one thing, per-pupil spending has increased roughly four-fold in real dollars since Brown was decided, but the bulk of those funds have been absorbed by school bureaucracies rather than spent on behalf of students.As with any national movement, this model of public schooling had many backers with diverse motives.Crucially, however, the system was implemented during the racism of the Progressive Era.As former Georgetown Law Center Dean Judith Areen wrote in 1973, education law decisions treated schools as a vehicle for other issues, such as racial politics, rather than protecting students as individuals.As she wrote, “No decisions to date have gone to the heart of the problem of providing a better education for a given child in a particular classroom, a better teaching situation for most teachers, or a more responsive school administration for most parents.”As recently as the fall of 2015, Washington State’s Supreme Court invalidated the state’s network of charter schools just after the school year had started, creating chaos for the 1,200 students who were enrolled in those schools.


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