Souter has done his most prolific opinion writing on cases involving government aid to religion or religion in the public schools.

The U.S. Supreme Court today took up a major case involving the Voting Rights Act of 1965, with the justices debating whether Congress had the right in 2006 to extend a key section that subjects certain states and counties to greater scrutiny for discrimination in voting procedures. The case has implications for school districts in any of the states covered by Section 5 of the voting-rights law. Under that section, the states and local governments must get federal approval, or "preclearance," of any change in voting procedure. For affected school districts, that typically involves changes in district boundaries for ...

A special education case in the U.S. Supreme Court today showed that some justices are concerned about parents getting a fair shake in the system, while others worry that school districts and taxpayers must shoulder the burden for expensive private schools for some students. "I think we've got to assume that Congress has some concern for the parents who correctly say, this [individualized education plan] is no good, it just can't be done in the school system, and the kid needs a special school," Justice David H. Souter said to the lawyer representing an Oregon school district. But Chief ...

The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear the appeal of a Kentucky family over a school's handling of a middle school student who gave a prescription Adderall pill to one of her classmates. The refusal to take up S.E. v. Grant County Board of Education (Case No. 08-927) is not a ruling on the merits, but it is interesting because the justices often hold on to appeals that raise the same or similar issues to cases they are deciding. Just last week, the court heard arguments in Safford Unified School District v. Redding, about whether the Fourth ...

With a busy week for education in the Supreme Court, I haven't had time to take note of these rulings: Arizona Private School Tax Credit: A federal appeals court revived a challenge to a state program that provides an income tax credit for contributions to private school scholarships, including at religious schools. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled 3-0 in Winn v. Arizona Christian School Organization that if the facts as alleged in a challenge are true, the tax credit program "“carries with it the imprimatur of government endorsement” ...

The case before the high court involved employment tests for firefighters, but race-conscious actions by schools were on the minds of some of the justices.

It didn't take long for today's U.S. Supreme Court arguments to delve into extreme hypotheticals about the limits of permissible school searches.

The U.S. Supreme Court appeared sharply divided today over a case that asks whether the state of Arizona is doing enough to educate English-language learners to satisfy a federal civil rights law. Kenneth W. Starr, the lawyer representing Republican state legislative leaders who are seeking relief from a federal court order that effectively is forcing the state to spend more on ELL programs, told the justices that English learners "are, in fact, making progress" under the program funded by the legislature. This drew a sharp response from Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who cited detailed test results showing that English ...

When the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in an important special education case on April 28, all eyes will be on Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

This is the second in a series of previews of the three education cases being argued in the U.S. Supreme Court this month. The first post in the series, about the Horne v. Flores case, appeared on Monday. A strip-search of a middle school student by school officials looking for prescription drugs sets the stage for one of the most important U.S. Supreme Court rulings in a quarter century on student rights and public school responsibilities. The justices will hear arguments on Tuesday, April 21, in Safford Unified School District v. Redding (Case No. 08-479). Education Week's Erik ...

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