[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's states brief, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today refused to block the implementation [PDF text] of Arizona's Proposition 200 [Yes campaign website; JURIST report], which denies some state public benefits to illegal immigrants and makes it a crime for public employees to fail to report undocumented immigrants who seek benefits outlined in the legislation. The panel said the plaintiffs, who were seeking a preliminary injunction until a trial is held to determine if the law's benefit prohibition is constitutional, had not demonstrated they were hurt by the law's implementation or charged or specifically threatened with prosecution. In a separate state court action, a trial judge's dismissal of a challenge to Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard's opinion [JURIST report] that the law's benefit provision applies to a small number of welfare programs is also being appealed. AP has more.
In other state legal news ...
- A Wisconsin court of appeals ruled [PDF text] Tuesday that a private high school is not eligible to participate in the publicly funded school voucher program for poor Milwaukee students because while the school's green space and parking lot are located in Milwaukee, the school buildings are located in a suburb. The court found that the state's Department of Public Instruction [official website] was correct in denying the school's application because state law clearly limits the program to schools in Milwaukee. In dissent, Judge Ralph Fine wrote, "In my view, a school is where it is, and if it straddles two or more municipalities, it is 'located' in each of them." The high school has not decided whether to appeal the decision or renew lobbying efforts for a state law allowing it to join the program. AP has more.
- The California Supreme Court has ruled [PDF text] that state regulators may intervene when county governments approve reclamation plans for surface mines that do not meet state standards. Surface mines in California are normally regulated by county government as part of their supervision of local land use, but the court ruled that the state may step in because if a county-approved plan fails to meet state reclamation standards, "accomplishment of (the law's) goal of protecting heath and safety, as well as the environment, is at risk." The ruling reinstates a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Conservation [official website] to shut down two sand and gravel quarries in El Dorado County, alleging that the county-approved reclamation plans fail to meet state standards. The San Francisco Chronicle has local coverage.
- A New Jersey Superior Court judge has ordered [PDF text] the New Jersey Education Department [official website] to formulate a plan to carry out court-ordered reforms in 31 of the state's poorest urban school districts. The ruling requires the Department to address the "recruitment, retention, professional development and effective deployment" of its staff and to include annual goals and objectives. The Education Law Center sued the state for its failure to develop a management plant for the next two years, and after the ruling an attorney for the Education Law Center [Education Law Center news release] said, "A plan and budget is essential for building public confidence and engaging stakeholders in the historic effort to improve education in our high poverty urban schools." In 1997 and 1998, the state Supreme Court ruled students in the 31 poorest urban school districts should receive a better education. AP has more.