LEGAL NEWS ROUNDUP

Gahee Lee, CLS’18

The Massachusetts Superior Court dismissed a motion arguing that charter school attendance was a civil right. In response to plaintiffs’ complaints that they were being deprived of their constitutional rights to “adequate” education when denied admission to charter schools, the court held that even if the plaintiffs were currently attending schools that rated lowly on the state rating system for public schools and were denied admission to charter schools solely because the applications outnumbered the available seats, there existed no constitutional violation. Contrary to the plaintiff’s perspective that a subpar rating could be interpreted as the state’s negligence of some of the schools, the court stated that the grading system was established to “identify the schools most in need… and then provide such schools with the ways and means to improve.” The court also cited judicial deference to the legislature as yet another reason to defer judgment regarding school choices. [Source: Huffington Post]

The Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously struck down a law imposing restrictions on abortion providers, holding that the requirement that providers take samples of fetal tissue from patients younger than 14 and preserve them for state investigators violated the state constitution’s requirement that each legislative bill only address “one subject.” Designated to “thwart legislators from including provisions that would not normally pass in otherwise popular bills,” the “one subject” rule seeks essentially to prevent a situation where legislators must decide between either wholly passing, or rejecting, a bill. The court rejected the legislators’ explanation that the bill sought to both capture child rapists (by use of the fetal tissue) and protect women’s health. Four of the concurring judges noted that they would have rejected the law as an unconstitutional burden on a woman’ right to have an abortion. [Source: Reuters]

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida extended Florida’s voter registration deadline by at least 24 hours in light of Hurricane Matthew. The Florida Democratic Party has requested a longer extension given the “strong likelihood” that many of the state’s voters have evacuated to seek refuge from the storm. Governor Rick Scott, on the other hand, has refused to allow more time. The District Court’s judge is to determine on Tuesday, October 11th whether to further extend the deadline. [Source: CNN]