Gary B. v. Whitmer
Gary B. v. Whitmer (U.S. Court of Appeals – Sixth Circuit, April 23, 2020): In a landmark decision, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recognized a federal constitutional right to a basic minimum education and access to literacy. In doing so, the court identified the substantive due process right to a basic education as a fundamental right. The trial court had dismissed all claims brought by students who matriculated into the Detroit public school system. Plaintiffs, students at Detroit’s worst performing schools, claimed that conditions at the schools were so poor that children were unable to attain an education and achieve literacy. The three-judge Sixth Circuit panel revived the case (with a 2-1 vote) and sent it back for trial, finding that there is a fundamental right to a basic education that allows a student to achieve literacy. In lieu of trial, on May 14, Governor Whitmer announced a settlement of the lawsuit. Subsequently, the full Sixth Circuit vacated the three-judge decision and set the case for hearing before the Sixth Circuit’s full panel of judges. The State, the city of Detroit, and the plaintiffs argue that the case is moot because of the settlement. Read the decision here.
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